High school installs vape detectors to crackdown on teen toilet smoking

The Royal High School in Edinburgh is one of the first in the country to install the tech, which sets off a 'screaming' alarm.

Royal High School in Edinburgh installs vape detectors to crackdown on teen toilet smoking OLGA Zhukovskaya via Getty Images

A high school in Edinburgh has become one of the first in the country to install vape detectors in an effort to crack down on toilet smoking.

The Royal High School, in Barnton, invested around £1,000 in the detectors, which were connected into the three main toilets in the school at the start of March.

If chemicals from vapes in the air is detected, a “screaming” alarm goes off and a text message alerts nearby staff.

The City of Edinburgh Council told STV News it was currently drawing up a policy on vaping in schools which it expects to have in place for the start of the new school session in August 2024.

The investment in the technology comes after concerns over the effects of teen vaping on education and health were raised at a parents’ forum last October, with plans agreed between the NHS and schools to step-up work to spread awareness of the risks.

The move also comes in the aftermath of the Scottish Government announcing that single use vapes could be banned by April 1 next year, following recommendations made after a UK-wide consultation.

In an effort to halt the “worrying trend” of the rise in vaping among children, the Scottish Government will consent to UK-wide legislation aimed at curbing vaping, a minister confirmed on Tuesday.

Public health minister Jenni Minto said the Government will shortly bring forward a legislative consent memorandum, which allows Westminster to pass laws in what are usually devolved areas.

The UK-wide legislation will mean youngsters born on or after January 1, 2009 will never legally be able to buy cigarettes.

It also includes new powers to regulate the display, contents, flavours and packaging of vapes and nicotine products.

The Scottish Government also intends to ban the sale of single-use vapes from April 1, 2025.

The latest Public Health Scotland survey of health behaviour in school-aged children – covering 2022 – reported that there had been a 25% increase in 15-year-olds using e-cigarettes – up from 7% in 2018.

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