Vaping-related Delaware Death Concerns Archmere Students

School Takes Measures To Protect Students

Fiona Teaney, Staff Writer

A vaping-related death in the state of Delaware was confirmed this month, but State Public Health officials have not released any personal information about the victim. Even before the recent death, students have been turning away from vaping due to the recent respiratory illness that has led to 18 nation-wide deaths so far, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Archmere administration is increasing strategies to prevent students from juuling.

All of the recent illnesses have been linked to pods with THC, CBD, and nicotine in them, which is weed oils, nicotine, and other chemicals all mixed in a pod. Local health researchers and the Food and Drug Administration are frantically researching and trying to figure out the real cause and effects of this mysterious respiratory disease.

Some schools in Alabama, Pennsylvania, and Colorado have gone to extreme measures by removing the bathroom stall doors, setting up vape detectors in the bathrooms and locker rooms, fining students $50 if they are caught, and incorporating a three-day suspension to their punishment. Archmere has not gone to these extremes yet but still has enforced some rules and laws to try and prevent juuling from occurring on campus.

“I have sent out many anti-juuling messages, publicly denounced it, and set out decrees banning it,” said Mr. Nowaczyk, director of student life, “I have done random bathroom checks and had juuling meetings to educate the parents.”

The recent deaths have sparked the need for further testing and research for public safety. Archmere students who had been vaping since the end of 2017 were often unaware of the side effects and long-term consequences of the chemicals inside.

“Hopefully the thought of death in kids’ minds is helping to influence them to stop,” said Mrs. Hendrixson, school nurse, “and I hope death would be enough of a scare tactic over just ‘popcorn lung’ being an effect.”

Before people realized the real dangers of vaping, many students and teenagers vaped all the time. This has been a problem at Archmere for the past two years when many students were sneaking into the bathroom and locker rooms during class to take a hit of their JUUL.

“Although we do not find vaping to be a widespread habit amongst the students we know it is happening.  It is important to educate the students to the dangers of vaping so they make healthy decisions.  This in the long run will diminish the practice at the academy,” said Mr. Nowaczyk.

Because this topic is sensitive, The Green Arch did not survey the student body. Students report though that there has been a decrease in the number of students at Archmere who are still vaping after 18 recent deaths in the news. Students who thought it was fun, a nice feeling, or “cool” now realize the dangers, risks, and side effects of vaping.

“I got rid of my own because I was scared of the side effects,” said one student who wishes to remain anonymous. “Everything on the news has freaked me out, and I do not want to die.”