Students put health at risk by vaping weed and oxycontin, school officials say

As vaping rises in popularity, a school board in northern Ontario is grappling with students who are using vaporizers to ingest marijuana and oxycontin.

North Bay, Ont. school board trustees say government needs to regulate vaping

Trustees with the Near North School Board are calling on the government to help implement an awareness campaign on vaping. (Doug Husby/CBC)

As vaping continues to rise in popularity, a school board in northern Ontario is grappling with how to properly educate its students about the potential dangers.

"We've heard from our staff and principals that they [the students] are vaping marijuana juice [and] they're crushing oxycontin up and vaping those," said David Thompson, chair of the Near North District School Board in North Bay, Ont.

"Kids are being very creative and actually creating some very dangerous situations for students," he said.

David Thompson is chair of the Near North District School Board. (Twitter)

Thompson says trustees were recently presented information at a board meeting that stated students are also taking the filters off the vaporizers and sharing them.

"What we're hearing is they're now contracting hepatitis," he said.

"[When] a group of them starts sharing the vaping pipe, that's what happens. It's a serious issue."

The board has banned vaping on school property, Thompson said.

"You get caught on school property, you get suspended, the same as smoking," he said.

"It's one small step at moving it outside the school [but] it doesn't prevent kids … from doing it anywhere else."

Pushing for political help

Thompson says the board wants the government to put an awareness campaign in place to properly educate students. He says calls have been made to federal and provincial politicians and senators for help.

"Awareness of the dangers of vaping...needs to be included in any legislation, especially if marijuana is going to be legalized next year. There's got to be some rules about vaping," Thompson said.