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

CVRD requests rainstorm, flood photos via online tool

Officials want to know more about how that type of event impacted the region as a whole.

Bluegrass Festival in Cowichan offering savings for early birds

The annual Cowichan Valley Bluegrass Festival will run from June 19 to 21

Drivesmart column: Let’s block the road

Police resources to cope with the size of the protest group is an important consideration.

Coming up in Cowichan: Meet the Wounded Warriors

Wounded Warrior Run stops at Legion The Royal Canadian Legion Malahat District… Continue reading

Cowichan climber off to Olympic qualifier

Brennan Doyle competing for Pan Am Championship

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Massive early-morning blaze destroys Vancouver Island home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire at unoccupied residence

First win, fifth win highlight BC Senior Curling finals

Donna Mychaluk wins first title after finishing second five times; Wes Craig takes fifth crown

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

VIDEO: Wounded Warrior Run leaves Port Hardy on eight-day trek down Vancouver island

The team’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000, which is double last year’s goal.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read