In recent times, the issue of vaping has garnered significant attention across New Zealand, and it’s no wonder why. As electronic cigarettes continue to gain popularity among young people, especially in schools, the consequences of this trend are becoming increasingly apparent.
Vaping not only exposes students to harmful substances, but it also poses health risks and disrupts the school environment. Data released last year revealed that smoking rates in New Zealand have decreased to 8%. However, the number of daily vape users has increased more than the decrease in daily smokers. Particularly alarming is the fact that the number of year 10 students (approximately 14 years old) who vape daily has tripled from 3.1% in 2019 to 9.6% in 2021.
Numerous articles and news reports have shed light on the severity of the vaping crisis in our educational institutions1. However, this issue has not only been brought to our attention through media reports but also through feedback from our client schools. One of the issues schools are facing is the prevalence of students vaping in school bathrooms, taking them over. This has become a significant concern, as younger students are avoiding using school bathrooms. In a recent RNZ article, parents expressed deep concern for their children’s well-being due to vaping in school bathrooms. One parent from Wellington, in particular, shared how her daughter in year nine found it challenging to even enter the bathrooms, as these were occupied by students vaping behind closed doors. This situation becomes particularly difficult for students dealing with their first periods at school, leaving them unable to access necessary facilities for hygiene purposes.
Although the government and school principals are working to address the issue, vaping remains a persistent challenge on school premises, with several students still engaging in this behaviour. To discourage such activities, teachers monitor bathrooms during breaks, and senior leadership teams conduct check-ins in hallways and bathrooms between classes. While these measures can help prevent vaping at schools effectively, they can also be time-consuming for school staff. This is where technology can play a part and provide a more efficient solution.
Introducing New Era’s Innovative Solution: Integrated Security Cameras and Environmental Sensors
New Era Technology firmly believes in using advanced technology to address real-world challenges. That’s why we provide schools with an innovative solution to tackle the issue of vaping in schools.
Our solution features state-of-the-art security cameras that are cloud-based and offer high-quality video streaming and storage. With advanced features like motion detection and facial recognition, these cameras become essential tools for monitoring school premises and capturing any suspicious activities, including vaping incidents. These cloud-based cameras provide school staff with real-time access to video footage, ensuring prompt action when needed. The security cameras can be paired/integrated with environmental sensors to help detect students vaping. These sensors are installed strategically in bathrooms, locker rooms, hallways, and other potential vaping hotspots. They can sense vapour or smoke in the atmosphere, sending immediate alerts to school staff. This proactive approach empowers schools to respond swiftly to vaping incidents and maintain a safe student environment.
The security cameras:
- Are easy to install, manage, and maintain, without the need for NVRs or DVRs.
- provide real-time visibility into access-based events across campuses, with preconfigured actions and alerts.
- integrate seamlessly with video security, environmental sensors, and other devices to provide a unified physical security platform.
- offer a 10-year product warranty, unlimited user seats, cloud archiving, and automatic updates.
- can help locate students vaping at schools by pairing sensors with video security to gain additional context and evidence. They can also send real-time alerts via SMS and email when vaping is detected in areas such as bathrooms and locker rooms.
The environmental sensors:
- are all-in-one sensors that monitor up to 15 different environmental readings, such as air quality, temperature, humidity, motion, and noise.
- streamline data insights into a centralized dashboard that can be accessed from anywhere.
- send proactive alerts to teams in the event of unusual changes in the environment, such as high levels of smoke, vape, or CO2.
- can be integrated with Verkada cameras to add visual context to sensor data and events.
- can help detect and deter vaping in schools by using a Vape Index that factors multiple data points from onboard sensors.
Enhancing School Security with New Era’s Solution
Imagine a situation where an environmental sensor detects vaping in a school bathroom. The sensor sends an alert, and the integrated security camera in the area captures clear video footage of the incident. School staff can review the footage, identify the students involved, and take appropriate action promptly. With this level of security and monitoring, schools can effectively discourage vaping and ensure their students’ well-being.
At New Era Technology, our aim is to support schools in improving their teaching and learning experience by collaborating with top vendors to offer the best tools and solutions.
If you are interested in our security camera and environmental sensors solution, please contact us. You can also request a free security camera demo below.
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Huston, J. (25 July 2023). Younger students avoiding school bathrooms as vapers take over. Radio New Zealand. Retrieved from https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/471302/younger-students-avoiding-school-bathrooms-as-vapers-take-over ↩ ↩2