COURTESY PHOTO
The Youth Warrior Team stood outside of City Hall after their request to the Winnemucca City Council to hang signs against vaping and smoking around Winnemucca was approved on Aug. 9. The signs are part of their efforts to raise awareness to prevent drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse among kids and teens. Their efforts were sponsored in part by a partnership with Douglas County, the Frontier Community Coalition and by the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, Bureau of Behavioral Health Wellness and Prevention, through Youth Vaping Prevention Funds.
COURTESY PHOTO The Youth Warrior Team stood outside of City Hall after their request to the Winnemucca City Council to hang signs against vaping and smoking around Winnemucca was approved on Aug. 9. The signs are part of their efforts to raise awareness to prevent drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse among kids and teens. Their efforts were sponsored in part by a partnership with Douglas County, the Frontier Community Coalition and by the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, Bureau of Behavioral Health Wellness and Prevention, through Youth Vaping Prevention Funds.
Kids and teens are no stranger to the tobacco epidemic in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as of 2018, 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle school students —more than 3.6 million youth—currently use E-Cigarettes.  

At the most recent meeting of the Humboldt County School District (HCSD) Board of Trustees on Nov. 8, seven vape detectors were donated to the district by the Frontier Community Coalition (FCC), Douglas County, and the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, Bureau of Behavioral Health Wellness and Prevention, through Youth Vaping Prevention Funds. 

“This truly is a celebration. We recognize that vaping is a significant issue and we are seeing it all the way down at French Ford Middle School, so anything we can do to address that is a benefit to us,” said HCSD Superintendent, Dr. Dave Jensen. 

With as much potency as a pack of cigarettes in just one fruity-flavored e-cigarette cartridge, the growing popularity of these devices is extremely concerning.

The Warrior Youth Team, which is composed of students in different grades from the community who raise awareness to prevent drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse among kids and teens, came up with the idea to get vape detectors for some of Humboldt County’s schools. With the help of their partners, the idea came to fruition. 

The vape detectors look and operate like regular smoke detectors and were picked specifically by Dr. Jensen. They work from any fixed location and will immediately alert when vapor is present. The devices send a notification through an app and whoever is designated by the HCSD to oversee the devices will be alerted and can respond to incidents, according to Brooke Esquibel, Humboldt County Coordinator for the FCC. 

Counties such as Lander and Pershing both have vape detectors in some of their schools and they work well, according to Esquibel. Costing approximately $1,000 each, securing these for the HCSD has been a major success for the district. 

“We know it’s a big problem all over, not just here,” said Esquibel, and added that the large size of the HCSD makes it hard to secure funds in order to have vape detectors at all of the schools. 

Esquibel also stated that it is the preference of the Youth Team and their partners that the detectors be divided between the Winnemucca Junior High and Lowry High School because of the prevalence of tobacco use among students.

The Youth Team and the FCC are also still looking for other funds to raise in order to bring vape detectors to French Ford Middle School as well. The Team is currently working on posters and signage that will be placed around City buildings that depict the harsh realities of using tobacco. The Winnemucca City Council approved the posting of the signage at their regular meeting on Aug. 9.

Esquibel is also spearheading an initiative to implement tobacco cessation programs in Humboldt County schools and the Youth Team plays a key role in peer-to-peer education, as well as the pilot group that tested the efficacy of the program. 

The coalition endorses My Life, My Quit, a confidential program for youth who want to stop smoking. Teens can easily and privately seek help by texting “Start My Quit” to 36072 or calling 855-891-9989.