Inconspicuous vape devices could allow students to vape in plain sight. School administrators across Florida say kids vaping in school is an epidemic
A news 6 investigation found many inconspicuous vape devices that could allow students to vape in plain sight. School administrators across Florida and across the country say kids vaping in school is an epidemic.
Students are vaping on campus and even in classrooms.
There are numerous smoke shops in Central Florida and even more places on-line to buy every type , every flavor, every size of vape devices.
News 6 went shopping, then chose three parents, all with teenagers, all concerned about vaping, and put them all to the test to see if they could pick out the item that was a vape device
Jeralee Pope has four children including two teenagers, ages 16 and 18.
"It is so prevalent in the schools now, there are kids doing it between classes, there are kids doing it in class," Pope said.
News 6 laid out 11 items, including computer thumb drives, ink pens, two obvious vape devices and three inconspicuous vape devices.
Pope immediately chose a computer thumb drive and a vape device you can buy for $20 that looks very much like a car key fob.
But she missed two other vape devices that were in plain sight. One is a digital smart watch with a face that can be detached and used to vape.
"What? Oh my gosh," Pope said. "See and that's why it would be ultra attractive too because it looks like an expensive smart watch," she said.
Next we went to Josh Elledge, who has two teen sons and is also concerned about vaping.
"Well these two are obviously vape devices," Elledge said picking out the "key fob" and a real vape device, but then he struggled with the others.
"Smartwatch, flashlight, pen, pen, smart drive, pen, pen smart drive," Elledge said pointing to each item.
He missed an ink pen that we bought for $30. You can use it to write, but the top unscrews and allows you to screw in a cartridge, and it doubles as a vape device.
"That's messed up," Elledge said.
News 6 went to David Powell who also has teens. He spotted the key fob immediately as a vape device, but missed two others.
"Just seeing gadgets like this makes it easy for somebody to get them into school," Powell said.
Matt Reed is Assistant Superintendent for Brevard County Schools.
"One of the biggest challenges is the disguising of these devices," Reed said.
In the 2018-2019 school year, Brevard schools had five times the number of students suspended for vaping with tobacco products than the previous year.
Suspensions doubled for students vaping with THC oil the same year, according to the district.
"These are devices that are disguised as other things, there’s no odor to the oil so it's really hard to catch," Reed said." But when we do catch them, the consequences are severe and students need to know that," he said.
The Brevard County School district is considering joining a lawsuit against e-cigarette maker Juul.
The district is drafting a contract with the Winter Park law firm that is representing school districts in lawsuits against the company.
The contract will likely be on an upcoming agenda for official board approval in early December.