Addressing Vaping in Schools: How to React

Have you ever had someone truly listen to you?

You know what I mean, the kind of listening where you feel the other person is really hearing what you say because there are engaged in your conversation, looking at you, nodding, and even asking relevant questions to show they are interested.

You feel valued and important because the person listening has shut off all outside distractions by stopping the chatter in their own head to hear only you.

If you have ever experienced this, you will know how encouraging this feeling can be because that person really understands the importance of listening.

As educators you recognize the importance of active listening both in learning, and as a vital social skill.

Our job is to listen to our students and teach them how to listen which is critical to curbing typical vaping struggles.

3 best practices to curb vaping by listening.

What happens if and when you find one of your students’ vaping?

In a previous email, we talked about how NOT to react.

You don’t want the focus to be punishment, through some dogmatic process. Instead, you’ll want to approach your students with empathy and understanding.

Kids these days have all kinds of external pressures and the last thing they need is someone upset with them rather than truly trying to extend a helping hand.

One of the first things to do is to give them a voice to speak. Students need to feel heard and understood which is important because they’ll be much more receptive to accepting status quo if they feel they have had a voice. Try not to get frustrated with them and instead show them kindness, compassion, and empathy by giving them a voice. For example, ask them if they are aware of the dangers of vaping and if they are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with lung damage – show concern for their health not just for them breaking the rules.

Obviously, if students are vaping in schools there needs to be a conversation with parents as well. One of the keys to preventing vaping issues is to listen to their parents. Parents are the kid’s first teachers and you can glean valuable knowledge and tips from them. Use parent-teacher meetings as fact-finding missions and be prepared for the gems of information you can gather.

Lastly, when in the heat of the moment, after learning of a student vaping or catching a student red-handed, there will be emotions involved.

To navigate this, use reflective listening to defuse tricky situations. Saying ‘Connor, I can see you are upset’ (disappointed, frustrated, sad) validates a student’s feelings, provides the language to describe the feelings, and helps reduce the intensity of the feelings allowing the student to move forward.

To learn how we can help guide your school district in addressing your vaping issues, fill out the form to the right of this page to schedule time with one of our team members.

Join your fellow school administrators, educators, and peers for a webinar about best practices to addressing these vaping struggles, once and for all: Click Here to Register!

Madison Olson