The majority of the young people who vape that Le Journal encountered this week near two secondary schools in Quebec stated that they had already used their electronic cigarettes while on school grounds.
Some students even have the audacity to “vape” in class when the instructor isn’t looking. Smirking, the young man turned to one of his other buddies and remarked, “I saw you this morning during math class.”
Another youngster of the same age, 13, who has been vaping for the past two years, does it frequently while inside the school. “While class is in session, you may find us in the restrooms,” she explains. A friend of hers who was already caught in the act was given a warning and a call at home to alert her parents about what had happened.
The rapidly expanding popularity of vaping among young people, which is increasingly seeping into the walls of schools, is a source of concern for many of those involved in the education system.
“We see more and more of them in restrooms, in locker rooms, and in classrooms,” bemoans Martine Labbé, a special education teacher at Saint-Marc secondary school in Portneuf. “We see more and more of them in bathrooms, in locker rooms, and in classrooms.”
No matter their age, one out of every three pupils at this school at least occasionally or routinely uses e-cigarettes. More than half of the students in the first year of secondary education have already experimented with using electronic cigarettes.
“In just five years, we have seen a staggering growth; this should be a major cause for concern. They make it seem so insignificant that they are unaware of the fact that nicotine is an addictive substance,” Ms. Labbé continues.
According to Annie Papageorgiou, who is the director general of the Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health, the reason why young people “addicted” to electronic cigarettes cannot help but vape inside of high schools is precise because they cannot help themselves.
“A number of institutions have been in touch with us since they are at a loss as to how to deal with the issue. “There is no question that it is there,” she remarked.
As is the case at Saint-Marc high school and other high schools around the province, the organization is presently working with approximately 80 high schools to combat the widespread use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) among young people. These high schools have created action plans.
The approach that was created places a primary emphasis not on repression but rather on information and prevention. “We want to take away the hipness that is connected with vaping so that we can talk about the facts. According to Ms. Papageorgiou, “We know that when it comes to youth, increasing awareness and informing has a bigger impact than having repercussions.
On the other hand, the vast majority of the students whom Le Journal spoke to were fully aware of the negative effects that vaping has on their health. However, the damage has been done to many people already.
I decided to start vaping two years ago since everyone else was doing it. A pupil of 16 years old shared that she keeps doing it since she is addicted to it. I made a number of attempts to give up smoking, but I was unable to.
FIVE TIMES MORE YOUNG PEOPLE DO IT
The percentage of young people in Quebec between the ages of 11 and 17 who vape has increased by a factor of five in the past six years, going from 4% to 21% between 2013 and 2019.
One-third of students in Secondary IV and V use electronic cigarettes or vape pens.
There is a fourfold increase in the likelihood that young individuals who use electronic cigarettes will also smoke conventional cigarettes.
Vaping has been linked to an increased risk of developing anxiety and concentration problems, in addition to having an impact on how the brain matures.