Students, staff, admin discuss vaping issue


Althea Stachyra, Managing Editor/Student Life Editor

Nearly 28 percent of 12th graders at U.S. schools reported using a vaping device in the past year, according to Psychiatric News.

“[The Use of these devices] is something we deal with a lot [at MV],” said Mr. Michael  Koehnke, Assistant Principal.

However, Mr. Koehnke added that these incidents are hard to catch.

At MV, students get caught possessing or using a device at least once a week, according to Mr. Koehnke.

Due to privacy reasons, students interviewed will be referred to as Student A, Student B, and Student C. All students interviewed are current MV students, ranging freshman through senior.

“Vaping is the most popular trend among high school teens in my opinion,” stated Student A. “And because of how pocket size a lot of the newer vapes are, it is really easy to do.”

Mr. Rob Kiefer, substitute teacher, reported he caught four students vaping in the bathroom in just one morning.

The typical case results in one day of in school suspension.

“We try to take each [situation] on a case by case basis,” said Mr. Koehnke.

“[After I got caught,] I got sent to the office and the principal called my parents. Then, I served in-school suspension for the whole day and half the day the next day,” said Student B.

Students choose to vape at school for multiple reasons.

Mr. Koehnke suspects most students vape at school just to get away with something, and if not, as a way to cope with stress or anxiety.

“I guess addiction could be the case,” said Student A. “But it is also just because I am bored and classes get really long and drawn out.”

A newer type of vape, called a “Juul,” is the most common choice of e-cigarette among students.

“As our school guidelines are getting stricter, I think it is causing students more stress and taking a break to go to the bathroom and [Juuling] may help them relieve that,” stated student C.

Student C adds that some students may use Juuls and other vapes to fit in with certain groups of teens at MV.

“I choose to Juul at school because other people at school also do it,” said Student B.

“The first couple months I had [my Juul] I would do it at school very often, specifically during lunch,” said Student C. “It was something that motivated me and pushed me through the day, as well as it just became a habit. Now, after having it for almost a year, I never do it at school. With a busy class schedule, it is hard to fit in the time to go to the bathroom just to Juul.”

Mr. Koehnke added that most students are too young to use these devices, and the rule is in place for their safety, as well.

By law, it is illegal to buy a Juul, vape, or any tobacco products under the age of 18.

However, the majority of students at MV are not of legal age to buy a device, or possess one.

Student B stated that most underage students get their devices from older siblings of friends, or older friends.

“[Other people] buy it for me, and then I pay them,” said Student B, “I got it for $20 with everything that went with it.”         

“I would use my friend’s Juul all the time, and then it got to the point where I felt bad for asking so I had an older friend buy me one,” said Student C.

Underage students choose to use these devices in general for several reasons.

“Some kids are genuinely stressed out and vaping kind of helps them in their own way — strictly because of the nicotine,” said Student A.

“One of my friends had one and I used it a couple times. I loved the feeling of the ‘head high’ that it gave me,” said Student C. “It was almost relaxing to do the action of breathing it in and seeing the vape produced. As someone that deals with anxiety, I relied on it to help me cope.”

“A lot of students choose to do it because they think it makes them cool, and then end up addicted to nicotine because they wanted to impress their peers,” added Student A.