EL DORADO, Kan - Officer Kurt Spivey with El Dorado schools holds a class on Saturday mornings. The students in the class are required to attend because they were caught with tobacco or nicotine.
Officer Spivey started the class 16 years ago, and it was mainly focused on diverted teens from using cigarettes or other tobacco products. "A big class was 10 and the last few classes that I’ve ran we’ve been running into the 30s," Officer Spivey says.
He says the increased enrollment is because of vaping. Officer Spivey talks to each student in the class, and he says they do not understand the dangers of the nicotine in the vape oils. "One of the questions I ask them is 'are you addicted?' and many of them say that they are," Officer Spivey says.
Officer Spivey says e-cigarettes are a problem in the high school and middle school, and he's also had incidents in the grade schools. He says vape pens are small and blend in with other electronics, making it easy to conceal. The Juul has USB port and charges on a computer. He says the NJOY is increasing in its popularity because it's small enough to hide in your hand, making it easy to hide.
He says e-cigarettes are marketed as an alternative to smoking, however, he says that doesn't mean that's any less dangerous. "The bad thing about the vape pens as they got three times the amount of nicotine in them that cigarettes do," Officer Spivey says.
He says e-cigarettes are constantly changing, and parents should research the latest trends so they can know if their kids is vaping. He suggests that parents go into vape shops and look around. "Stop in there because you will see a full line of stuff and that way you have more of an idea what you’re looking for."
The purpose of the class is not to punish kids, but educate them about the dangers of tobacco and nicotine, and show the long-term effects that teens are not thinking about. He says life and health insurance rates increase for users, and estimates in 20 years, users spend $80,000 more than an average person.
The class is free to students in USD 490, and $20 for any kids outside of the district. Call Officer Spivey at 316-323-4134 to sign up.