Data from a 2018 Health Canada survey showed that 23% of Grade 7-12 students have tried an electronic cigarette. Vaping is a fairly new development. There are several myths and information in the public and that’s why the Vancouver School District took the initiative to learn more about vaping, its health impacts and strategies to educate and support students, parents, and staff.
In the 2018-2019 school year, the Supporting and Connecting Youth (SACY) program looked into the topic of vaping. Students, parents, and staff at three secondary schools were lead by SACY to examine the nature of vaping at schools, current prevention methods, and better responses for vaping interventions. The project intent was to move towards a standardized approach to manage increased uses of student vaping at schools.
As part of the research, SACY conducted a district wide survey, “Response to Vaping Questionnaire for VSB Administrators and Staff”. The survey provided an opportunity for District staff to share their candid observations and insights about student vaping. It helped understand the type of resources that are being offered in the District, and create new strategies to further prevent, delay, or reduce the impact of vaping.
The research concluded that 73% of survey respondent, teachers, counsellors, and administrators, have seen or dealt with vaping. There was no discrimination to who vapes, where both males, females, and transgendered students are mentioned to vape.Students also tend to stay within their peer groups by maturity; for instance, grade 8-9 and grade 10-12 while vaping. Parents and admins want to find better communication on the education of vaping.
Schools have shown active involvement in most of the participating schools by using resources like SACY or school health nurses to educate students, staff, and parents about vaping. Since vaping is still a new occurrence, there is a lot more research to be done and understood. There are opportunities for collaborative development within VSB and its school communities to find centralized strategies that further address vaping in schools.