Vaping detectors coming to Hamilton County schools

(Getty Images)

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) - Another Indiana school district is coming up with new solutions to stop the teen vaping epidemic. Across the country, vaping has hospitalized thousands of young people and claimed 59 lives.

Noblesville High School and the district's middle schools are getting new technology intended to catch kids vaping and getting them help to kick the potentially deadly habit.

Schools across the country, including some in Indiana, have already installed vaping detectors in their bathrooms and locker rooms. They look similar to smoke detectors, but as Chris Lagoona from Next Tier Products demonstrated, it detects a variety of airborne chemicals including the ones specific to vaping.

"The sensor is going to pick it up and it is going to alert someone that it is a vape and also, a vape with THC levels," he said.

Alarms are sent to computer screens, school officials' smartphones, and the building's hallway security cameras.

"Someone could right away see whatever happened," Lagoona said.

Vaping detectors like this one will be installed in Noblesville high school and middle schools. A Hamilton county health department workers says the life threatening problem is getting worse

Posted by Rich Van Wyk on Thursday, January 16, 2020

James Gander, an educator for the Hamilton County Health Department, has a suitcase full of vaping paraphernalia. Ninety percent of it was in the hands of kids, he said.

He spends much of his time educating kids about the dangers of vaping.

"We know the problem is there and it is getting worse," Gander said. He's a supporter of vaping detectors and has helped schools acquire them.

"We don’t have enough administrators to be in the bathrooms at all times during the day," he explained. "These detectors will be able to pick up everything."

Vaping detectors are relatively new. According to Lagoona, more schools are becoming aware of them and looking into buying them.

"We are getting a lot of interest," he said. "Schools are looking at it and understand they have to budget for it."

His detector sells for $1,000. The thousands add up quickly for a school with bathrooms and locker rooms for thousands of students.

Noblesville is paying for the detectors with revenue from a tax increase already approved by voters to increase school security and safety.