Disclaimer: Please note that FreshAir solutions are not designed for in-home or consumer use. If interested in bringing vaping detection to your schools, please refer your school officials to the FreshAir website.
A quarter or more of all kids and teens vape or smoke, and the majority of youth who use nicotine do so using e-cigarette technology.1 Although the research on the health risks of vaping is still ongoing, longstanding knowledge about the risk of nicotine use generally indicates that the rapidly rising vaping rates among kids and teens presents a public health crisis. Risks to brain development, lung capacity, and more are serious. What’s more, research has shown that vaping among youth is a significant risk factor for beginning to smoke traditional cigarettes, which carries further health risks.2
Students tend to hide vape use from parents, teachers, and other adults, so detection is a central part of prevention. One of the most significant issues in prevention efforts focused on kids and teens is finding ways to introduce detection – and thus supervision – in spaces where adult supervision is not typically possible. School bathrooms and locker rooms, for example, have low to no supervision and are currently hotspots for vaping in schools. Promising new vaping detection technology being developed may hold the key to reducing student vaping rates in schools and thus to helping teens to quit before they become addicted to nicotine.
FreshAir vaping detection technology, funded by NIH grants, is similar to biological receptors; it detects only molecules specific to vaping. The sensors have high sensitivity (i.e., can detect low levels of the substance) and high selectivity (i.e., specified to vaping substances alone). The sensors will specifically detect vaping and provide scientific proof of when it took place. These sensors were developed in the FreshAir lab and are currently being commercialized for use in middle schools and high schools. The sensors will allow for monitoring of students in environments where adults will not always be present. Stay tuned for where the research and develoment take FreshAir in 2021.
1 CDC, Tobacco Product Use and Associated Factors Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/ss/ss6812a1.htm; NCBI, e-Cigarette Use Among Youth in the United States, 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6865299/.
2 NCBI, e-Cigarette Use Among Youth in the United States, 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6865299/; Truth Initiative, Why Vaping is an Important Issue, https://truthinitiative.org/our-top-issues/vaping-issue.