Yes, you read that right. Teachers not only have to contend with the distraction of cell phone use and social media addiction, but here come highlighter vapes, e-cigarettes conspicuously disguised as an innocent highlighter marker.

According to the New York Association of Convenience Stores, there are now vaping products that resemble school supplies, such as ballpoint pens, highlighter markers, and USB drives.

“These predatory overseas products are clearly targeted to kids and intentionally manufactured to look like school supplies to evade detection from teachers and parents,” said NYACS President Kent Sopris in a release.

How wonderful. Now teachers have to be the neon police, asking students to not only lock up their cell phones but to uncap their markers as they enter the room. Highlighter vapes are just another added distraction that interferes with the job of educating students.

Unhealthy inhaling

The problem of highlighter vapes just adds to the bigger problem of vaping in general. Vaping has become a very unhealthy addiction for young teens. A study done by the CDC found that over 2.5 million high school and middle schoolers in the U.S. reported daily e-cigarette usage. 

Vaping manufacturers market their devices as pretty little toys with kid-friendly flavors. This marketing tactic is a lie that minimizes the dangerous effects that vapes have on our youth. Disposable vapes, including highlighter vapes, are illegal in the U.S. Unfortunately, they are continually sold on the internet and black market after being manufactured in China.

Because they are unregulated, the nicotine content could be extremely high. This could cause irreparable damage to the adolescent brain, not to mention create unhealthy addictions. There are also mysterious lung illnesses and diseases that have been linked to vaping.

At one time, people considered vaping to be a healthy alternative to smoking, but medical science disproves this theory. Still, many teens and adults do not see the danger.

Creative countermeasures

Teachers must, once again, help remedy significant social issues and instill order in the classroom. Tell me again how teachers are paid enough; we are not.

From open conversations about the risks of vaping to incorporating lessons on health consequences, educators are taking proactive steps to lessen the appeal of vaping. It is not an easy task, as peer pressure is rampant. 

Additionally, some schools are implementing various measures to fight the epidemic:

  • Installing vape sensors in bathrooms to deter students from smoking in the most common places.
  • Using highly trained detection dog sniffers to determine if students have brought in vape pens in any shape or form.
  • Building a vape-free community that eliminates some of the peer pressure that students feel.

A teacher’s burden

Highlighter vapes just add to the madness that teachers now face on a daily basis. The excessive responsibilities on the plates of educators serve as a reminder that teachers do a lot more than just educate.   

Teachers continually adapt and try to help improve the problems that are facing our youth. We should not lose this fact in conversations concerning the value of teachers. As crazy as teaching can be, we happily take on the role of psychologist and community advocate. The burden of addressing issues like e-cigarette use falls disproportionately on the shoulders of educators, revealing a systemic flaw that places undue strain on an already demanding profession.

Educators rise to every challenge and deserve a hell of a lot more (respect, autonomy, and, of course, money) than what we currently receive.  

Highlighter Vapes in Schools: What's Next?