GAITHERSBURG, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - A Montgomery County high school has launched a crackdown on e-cigarettes as vaping has become a serious issue at many schools throughout the country.
Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg sent a note to parents last week that it was kicking its efforts into high gear due to the “recent rise in vaping and Juuling incidents.”
“What we're finding is that the devices are so small and they fit in pockets so we need to take a more proactive and aggressive step in educating and enforcing school policy,” Montgomery County Public Schools Spokesperson Derek Turner told FOX 5.
Some bathrooms are being locked to keep students from going in them to vape, according to officials. The district said the bathroom closings are a temporary move as the crackdown is launched.
The email sent to parents said: school officials caught students using, buying or selling vaping devices with nicotine or marijuana a dozen times in the last two weeks.
It’s against the law for students to vape marijuana and minors are not supposed to be able to buy the devices in Maryland.
The American Lung Association said most teenagers don’t realize the risks of vaping, including that it can cause lung damage. The association also said many teenagers don’t realize the devices can contain nicotine and formaldehyde.
“One of the things that kids do not know about these products is that they contain nicotine, which is a very addictive chemical,” Madeline DePrimo with the American Lung Association explained. “For example, one brand Juul contains the same amount of nicotine as one whole pack of cigarettes.”
Montgomery County police said school resource officers have issued a few citations for vaping in school but said the crackdown is more “educational” than “punitive.” Authorities noted that could change if the vaping in school does not stop.
On Monday night, JUUL Labs sent the following statement that reads, in part, “JUUL Labs shares a common goal with policy makers, regulators, parents, school officials, and community stakeholders – preventing youth from initiating on nicotine. We are committed to preventing youth access of JUUL products, and no young person or non-nicotine user should ever try JUUL.”