The Redwood City School Board is moving forward with a pilot program that will put special vape detectors in student restrooms to combat the problem of vaping among kids. Traditional smoke detectors cannot detect e-cigarette vapor.
The move by Redwood City elementary schools comes as concerns continue to mount about the health risks of vaping, especially for children. Many opponents of the flavored products have said that e-cigarette manufacturers are marketing to kids, and some elementary and middle school-aged students have said that they know classmates who are already vaping on campus.
As this program rolls out, only the largest school will get the new detectors. The board voted to install vaping detectors in all eight restrooms of Kennedy Middle School. The district has assured parents that it won’t violate student’s privacy.
“This is not technology that is going to be recording any type of sound or video,” said Jorge Quintana, a spokesperson for the district. “It’s just going to know when the electronic cigarettes are being used.”
The decision in Redwood City comes as experts in D.C. testified before a congressional hearing on e-cigarettes.
“We do not consider these products safe. We think they have harm. We do not think, really, anyone should be using them—other than people who are using them in place of combustible tobacco,” said Dr. Norman Sharpless, the Acting FDA Commissioner.
Sharpless said e-cigarettes should be more tightly regulated.
On Wednesday the CEO of the nation’s largest vaping manufacturer JUUL was replaced by the company board. It also announced that it would suspend all of its advertising and some of its lobbying efforts.