Vaping has Yet to Vanish at OHS

A poster in the bathroom telling students to report unsafe behavior.

A poster in the bathroom telling students to report unsafe behavior.

Sam Roberts, Journalist

In recent times, the bathrooms of Olympia High School have been tainted by the smell of chemical sweetness. The problem of smoking has always been a problem in school, but when the introduction of vapes was introduced it changed the dynamic completely. Students hopped on this trend, and it has become quite a big issue.

A student, who said they would rather stay Anonymous, talked about their experience of vaping. This student vaped for a little while, sometimes in school, sometimes out. “It gave me a break, it would just make me feel better. A form of self medication,” the student elaborated, talking about how it made them feel better when they were down. But in the long term, the student said they realized it was bad for their health, plus was putting money down the drain. Although they never got in trouble at school, they got in trouble at home for the actions they had taken. “It’s bad for your money and health. If you are struggling with depression, get the real stuff that actually helps,” they say, meaning if you need to feel better, don’t turn to smoking or hard drugs.

Doctor Marco Viniegra, Assistant Principal, verbalized his feelings about this topic. Viniegra gets reports from students about their fellow peers doing this, and finds them doing it a few times a week. Punishments, Viniegra said, are “very specific, where some students get an intervention at lunch, others get a small restorative class, and some stay in a restorative program for a long time.” Reports of this have been not only happening here at OHS, but are a problem almost everywhere around the country. While there are posters in the bathrooms to encourage students to make the safe choice, Viniegra and other staff members cannot control what students do. “While we can’t control what you do at home, please consider not doing it at school and during school hours.”

Amanuel Yilma, Freshman at OHS, would not consider himself an avid supporter of vaping. He has noticed the smell of vapes and other forms of tobacco ever since he started coming to OHS, having seen it happen many times before. Yilma stated that he has no option, because if he wants to use the bathroom he has to endure the chemicals. “I have had no option, after all the vandalisms the smell has become more concentrated,” Yilma said, referring to how the recent bathroom shutdowns caused these occurrences to become more fixed to one area. He expressed concern for the students’ health, saying “Nobody is really doing anything about it. They are all gonna get addicted and it’s going to hurt them.” Yilma said that he didn’t want others to be peer pressured into vaping, that this would be a person’s own choice, that this shouldn’t be set as a good example to follow.

Students can find help quitting vaping by calling 1-800-784-8669.