MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — This month 1,000 anti-vaping signs will be stuck to walls inside all middle and high school restrooms in Muskegon County and larger floor decals will go inside school entrances at those same schools.
The effort is the result of ongoing conversations between school leaders in Muskegon County and KnowSmoke, a community organization whose mission is to promote a tobacco-free county through education, cessation and prevention.
KnowSmoke identified the need to reach students with an anti-vaping message after school leaders asked for resources to curb vaping use among students.
"We started getting contacts from the schools saying we're struggling with this, we have no materials," said Logan Jensen, KnowSmoke Coalition coordinator for Mercy Health Project Muskegon.
The anti-vaping school kits distributed to schools include colorful decals in a variety of sizes to be placed on stall doors in restrooms, floors, mirrors, and walls.
"It's one of those recent trends that we're trying to get out in front of," said Jennifer Bustard, Mona Shores High School Principal.
Mona Shores and Orchard View are two districts with the anti-vaping signs already in place.
"Just a way of starting the conversations because if you don't talk about it then you're just perpetuating the miss information that's out there," said Dan Bolhuis, Orchard View High School Principal.
Bolhuis says some of the devices used to inhale aerosol, or vapor are tiny, easily concealed by students, and are made to look like small flash drives.
"[It] doesn't look anything like what an adult would think a vape looks like," Bolhuis said.
And some which have been confiscated from students contain liquid solutions other than the ones used to simulate cigarette smoking.
"Some vapes we have tested came back positive for marijuana," Bolhuis said.
Schools in Muskegon County are also participating in Vape Patrol, a tip line where students can report teen vaping and collect a $50 reward in some cases for doing so.
"Students can go on there and make an anonymous tip," Bustard said. "We've found three successful tips and those students have gotten the support that they need, because in some cases it's an addiction issue."
Restrooms will be heavily targeted with the new signs because school leaders say that's the primary location inside schools where students vape.
"They have to get their fix," Jensen said. "The bathroom is the place they do it and we hope that seeing those signs will maybe help them think twice before they use it."
The new signs include a variety of messages with the social, legal, and health consequences of vaping, an app that can be downloaded, and helpline (855) 891-9989 for additional resources to quit.
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