Revelstoke high school starts ‘buy-back’ program for vape pens

Over 45 vapes have been bought and exchanged for cafeteria credit

A British Columbia high school has launched a vape buy back program to reduce and stop students from vaping.

The program in Revelstoke encourages students to exchange their vape devices for credit at the cafeteria. As of Oct. 30, 45 vapes have been “bought.”

At a school assembly at the start of the year, Greg Kenyon, the principal for Revelstoke Secondary School (RSS), told students about the dangers of vaping.

“If you choose to vape, you are hurting your health, and, in the case of indoors especially, you are hurting others too – be good to each other,” said Kenyon.

Mike Hooker, superintendent of School District 19 in Revelstoke, said this program may be the first of its kind.

READ MORE: ‘It’s an epidemic’: vaping concerns raised at school board meeting

READ MORE: Talk to your kids about vaping, B.C.’s top doctor says

Last month, Kenyon sent an email to parents about the dangers of vaping.

“We believe that the entire school community needs to address this issue. As such, parents need to continue to have great proactive discussions with their children about the harmful effects of vaping,” said the letter.

It also explained two other approaches the school is taking to help curb vaping. One includes seizing vapes and not returning when used in the school or on school property.

The other encourages students to pursue cessation assistance, whether that means speaking with a health professional, visiting a local pharmacy for nicotine replacement, or just chewing the free gum RSS offers.

READ MORE: B.C. school trustees ask for provincial, federal help to end student vaping

According to youth drug survey data from 2017, more than half of high school students in Revelstoke reported that they have tried vaping and 12 per cent vaped daily.

A study from the University of Waterloo last year said Canadian teenage vaping rates have substantially increased by roughly 80 per cent in one year alone across Canada.

However, Hooker noted in a school board meeting this week that vaping numbers in Revelstoke appear to be dropping. He said anecdotal evidence suggests fewer students are vaping during breaks and lunch off school grounds. In addition, incidents of vaping in school have decline significantly.

He attributes the drop partially to recent lawsuits being brought against vaping companies and increasing reports on vaping causing illnesses.

For example, two B.C. men have filed a civil claim with the Supreme Court of British Columbia against vape brand Juul, after allegedly suffering “adverse health conditions” including pulmonary disease, from using the company’s popular e-cigarettes.

The two men accuse Juul Labs Canada in Vancouver and Juul Labs Inc. in San Francisco of “misleading and/or deceptive statements” including marketing to minors and implying that vaping is safer than smoking.

Hooker said Revelstoke students are also “feeling used and tricked” by vaping companies.

“The students are getting that it was marketed towards them,” he said.

According to Health Canada, as of Oct. 29, there are five confirmed or probable cases of severe lung illnesses related to vaping. Two of which are in Quebec, two in New Brunswick and one in B.C.

READ MORE: First case of ‘probable’ vaping-related illness in B.C. ‘not surprising’: UBC prof

READ MORE: New vaping regulations on the way, B.C.’s health minister says

Latest numbers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. links 38 deaths to vaping. However, the center also reported that the number of people sickened by vaping-related illnesses has jumped to 1,888 in the U.S.

Health Canada is advising Canadians who use vaping products to monitor themselves for symptoms of pulmonary illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain) and seek medical attention promptly if they have concerns about their health.

At the Revelstoke school board meeting earlier this week, the board passed a motion urging the provincial and federal health authorities to quickly enact “necessary legislation and/or regulation to assist schools in efforts to protect students from series health risks associated with vaping.”


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nakusp Rotary Club raises $530 for local food bank through mask initiative

Rotary members made and gave away over 200 masks by donation in late May

RCMP search for suspects who stole batteries from Nakusp Pole Yard

RCMP said the incident occurred at approximately 12:45 a.m. on May 30

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

First Energy Metals set to start gold exploration work in the West Kootenay

The work will be conducted at two of its sites near Nakusp and Nelson

Flooding: Why the RDCK ordered hundreds of properties evacuated

All evacuation orders have now been rescinded

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Kelowna Mountie on desk duty following ‘aggressive’ arrest

The officer involved in an arrest that took place on May 30 in Kelowna has been placed on administrative duties

Most Read