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

West Kootenay couple escapes Spain – safe, sound, and in self-isoaltion

BC couple Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

Emergency response teams continue services during pandemic

The RCMP, SAR, and fire department proceed with operations throughout COVID-19 situation

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Mental health in the time of COVID-19

Taking care of our mental health is just as important as protecting our physical health

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 update: U.S. expects 100,000 deaths; Oregon declares disaster

Comprehensive update of world news for Sunday, March 19.

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

‘There is community’: B.C. councillor welcomes new baby into world amid COVID-19 pandemic

‘I realize there’s much more than fear and worry… there is hope, there is new life’: Jason Lum

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

Most Read