Schools are cracking down on vaping

A vaping epidemic.

The principal of Fort Myers High School said it is spreading so fast, their code of conduct can’t even keep up.

While they may be small, Principal Robert Butz from Fort Myers High School, said they are causing a big problem.

“They’re small; they’re concealed,”┬áButz said. “When a student vapes and the vapor comes up, it evaporates so quickly that it’s hard to catch.”

According to the 2018 Florida Youth Survey, more than one-third of middle and high school students in Lee County said they have tried vaping. Even the┬ásurgeon general’s office has recently released some resources to help parents talk to their kids.

To stop its exponential growth, Fort Myers High School and others like it are cracking down on vaping.

Already this year, more than a dozen students there have been arrested for possession of THC or CBD oils — the concentrated liquids sometimes added to vaporizers to get high. It is illegal to have either of those liquids without a medical card in Florida.

“And so the student is looking at it going, ‘this is a felony? I’m going to jail?'” Butz said. “‘Yes. You’re going to jail.'”

But people in the vape industry, like Dylan Franklin, are quick to point out that most vape vendors do not sell things like THC oil.

“There’s no possibility of even getting it from a store like this,” Franklin said. “The only way they would be able to is illegally doing so on the streets.”

Franklin said the products he sells are geared towards adults who are trying to quit smoking. He said the real problem is the accessibility of products, like Juuls, which is why his store will not sell them.

“It’s still gas stations that are carrying these Juuls,” Franklin said. “That’s how they ended up in the hands of these children because a lot of gas station attendants may be very lackadaisical on their ID’ing.”

Either way, school administrators said now is the time to talk to your kids.

“It progresses to the THC and then it progresses to my child walking out of here in handcuffs,” Butz said. “And that’s a serious thing.”

Reporter:Oliver Redsten
Writer:Michael Mora
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