The Royal High School Takes a Stand Against teenage vaping

In a bold move against the rising tide of teenage vaping, Edinburgh’s Royal High School is setting a precedent for schools across Scotland. Recognizing the urgent need to address this issue head-on, the institution has equipped its bathrooms with state-of-the-art vape detectors, marking a significant step in their fight against on-campus vaping.

A Decisive Action Against Vaping

Principal Pauline Walker and her team have made it clear: vaping has no place within the school’s walls. With an investment of around £1,000, the school has installed detectors in the three main toilets, a move that underscores their commitment to maintaining a healthy environment for students. These detectors, akin to smoke alarms but designed to identify chemicals from vape mist, emit a loud alarm and send a text alert to staff if vaping is detected, serving as an immediate deterrent to potential users.

The Impact of Vape Detectors

Since their activation in early March, the school has observed a dramatic decrease in vaping incidents, with “almost zero activations” reported. This initiative not only discourages the act of vaping but also reclaims spaces that were becoming no-go areas for some students, thereby fostering a safer and more inclusive school environment.

Teenage vaping

Pupils Melissa, Klara and Aoife are glad the toilets have been reclaimed from groups of vapers – Source BBC

The Wider Battle Against Vaping

The introduction of vape detectors at the Royal High School comes amid growing concerns over the health impacts of vaping, especially among young people. Many vapes, particularly those obtained from the black market, contain unregulated levels of nicotine, leading to addiction among teenagers. By addressing this challenge proactively, the school hopes to discourage students from vaping and encourage healthier lifestyle choices.

Community and Government Support

The school’s initiative has received backing from both the parent council and the Scottish government. Chris Davison, chairman of the Royal High’s parent council, referred to vaping as a “national crisis,” highlighting the widespread concern among parents about the health and social implications of vaping among youth.

Furthermore, the Scottish government has announced plans to apply UK-wide legislation aimed at curbing vaping among young people in Scotland. This includes measures to regulate the sale, display, and packaging of vapes and nicotine products, with a specific ban on the sale of single-use vapes set to commence on 1 April 2025.

Looking Ahead

The Royal High School’s pioneering approach to combating teenage vaping sets a commendable example for other educational institutions facing similar challenges. Through decisive action, community engagement, and support from government initiatives, there is hope for a significant reduction in vaping among young people, paving the way for a healthier future generation.

The fight against teenage vaping is complex and multifaceted, but with concerted efforts from schools, parents, and policymakers, there is a clear path forward. The Royal High School’s initiative represents a critical step in this ongoing battle, demonstrating the power of proactive measures and the importance of safeguarding our youth’s health and well-being.

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