Some parents in the Yuba-Sutter region have raised concerns about youth vaping at area schools.

Area parents have expressed concerns over the use of e-cigarettes at Yuba City High School.

Through posts on social media such as Facebook, parents have claimed that the use of vaping is “a major problem in high schools.” 

According to Cylas Olsen, principal of YCHS, the school has received some concerns from parents regarding the use of vaping at the school. 

“Unfortunately, vaping is an issue that many high schools in the state and surrounding areas are dealing with and is a growing concern,” said Olsen in an email to the Appeal.

Students have been caught using e-cigarettes in the bathrooms at YCHS, according to Olsen. In response to this issue and general student safety, YCHS has recently added more full-time campus supervisors for a total of seven. Campus supervisors monitor bathroom entrances to ensure there are no students congregating. 

According to Olsen, the first response to a vaping incident at YCHS is to address the students and offer brief intervention counseling with school counselors as an alternative to punitive disciplinary consequences and removal from the school setting. All of the school counselors have been trained in this counseling program to address the use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco as a coping mechanism, said Olsen.

“The goal is to change the behavior – get the student to understand why vaping is a poor choice and stop vaping at school. Additional incidents of vaping would result in more intensive referral services to trained providers in Probation Services coupled with the disciplinary consequence from school. Again – the desired goal is changed behavior, not punitive consequences without support,” said Olsen.

One YCHS parent on Facebook wrote, “I started finding vape pens and cartridges in his room and confronted him about it and he told me a kid at school gave it to him. I talked to him about it and he said he wasn’t vaping but I found out that he was. A few weeks ago I found more empty cartridge pens. He used to be nice and spend time with the family. Now he’s always in his room and mean to his siblings. I have to figure something out to make him stop. He’s 16 now so I can’t really spank him.” 

In 2021, more than 2 million U.S middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes and within those 2 million, 8 out of 10 adolescents were using flavored e-cigarettes, according to a study released from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September 2021. 

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s, according to the CDC. A study found that 99 percent of e-cigarettes sold in assessed venues in the U.S. contained nicotine. 

Some e-cigarettes look like USB flash drives, pens and other everyday items and are sometimes called “e-cigs,” “vape pens,” “vaping,” “mods,” “e-hookahs,” and other names, according to the CDC. 

Some parents even expressed wanting to take serious measures with their children such as taking the bedroom door down so the adolescent does not have privacy to use e-cigarettes at home. Another parent wrote about how she has found vape pens on her 12-year-old daughter. A parent even stated that YCHS was not doing anything in regards to vaping that has been occuring in school bathrooms.

When asked by the Appeal whether this was true, Olsen said he believed that the intervention and prevention measures along with the heavily increased campus supervision show that YCHS is committed to a safe and healthy school on all levels. 

“Education is the best defense – parents should learn about vaping and vaping products so they know what to look for and how to have the conversation with their students if they are concerned,” said Olsen.

According to Olsen, YCHS also has pamphlets of information available on hand at site. Counselors and school resource officers are also excellent resources, said Olsen.

YCHS has also held evening family engagement nights that occurred in 2021, in which the school shared information about the dangers of vaping and demonstrated the e-cigarette products that are being sold in the Yuba-Sutter area. YCHS told parents about warning signs to be aware of at home. According to Olsen, these engagement nights have been a combined effort between YCUSD, Sutter County Probation, Sutter County Public Health and the Yuba City Police Department. The community also has a coalition, “Catch your Breath,” that attempts to educate families and the community about the dangers of smoking and vaping, said Olsen. 

“YCHS will continue to host these information nights and resources on our district website for our parents,” said Olsen.

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