In the 80s and 90s, there were smoke pits.  These were areas bordering on school property where students would gather to smoke cigarettes.  At one of my high schools, if you weren’t in the designated smoking area (usually just outside a door), you would get a $2 fine. It’s kind of comical now, since you can’t even smoke within a few feet of a doorway.

But there is a rise in “vaping”.  Vaping is the act of inhaling vapour through an e-cigarette, vape pen or personal vapourizing device.  The vapour is an aerosol consisting of fine particles containing chemicals which usually include nicotine, the addictive substance found in cigarettes.  Vaping is thought to be healthier than smoking, but the truth is we just don’t know the long term consequences of inhaling these substances.

When I asked around many parents say yes, their kids are vaping.  A few who work in the schools tell me that 50-60% of students vape.  And they are very unconcerned and nonchalant about it, it’s not really a big deal to them.

This is huge compared to the maybe 10% of high school students who smoked in the 80s and 90s.  While it’s difficult to hide the smell of a cigarette, vapour is nearly undetectable so kids are able to vape in the bathrooms and just about anywhere without being caught.

While selling vaping products to minors is illegal in BC, communities lack enough policing resources to control underage sales. Vapes can be purchased in sizes smaller than a Tic Tac box, and vape juice comes in all sorts of fun flavors and scents.  Kids are even selling vapes & juice products at school.

Youth vaping has become an issue of focus for Health Canada.  Here you can find some facts and tips about talking to your children about vaping.

The Surrey School District has arranged a number of presentations to assist parents in dealing with vaping and youth.  Please refer to this calendar and all parents are welcome at any presentation.

This is just another issue that seems way harder for our generation than that of our parents!  However, we have the internet and social media making the information more accessible, so we will take all the help we can get!