British Columbia

Rampant student vaping leads B.C. high school to lock up bathrooms

A North Vancouver high school is locking up almost all of its student bathrooms, blaming "a very serious issue" with vaping.

North Vancouver's Seycove Secondary says vaping has become 'a very serious issue'

Seycove Secondary has locked all but two student bathrooms over concerns with students vaping. (Nam Y. Huh/The Associated Press)

A North Vancouver high school is locking up almost all of its student bathrooms, blaming "a very serious issue" with vaping.

Seycove Secondary sent out an announcement on Thursday, notifying students and parents that all but two student bathrooms would be locked until further notice.

"There has been a recent increase in the amount of vaping at Seycove. It has now become a very serious issue which needs to be addressed," the notice reads.

Vaping nicotine — often using fruit-flavoured liquid — has exploded in popularity among Canadian teens in recent years. The 2017 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey found that 23 per cent of young people between the ages of 15 and 19 had tried an e-cigarette.

At Seycove, staff have seen a major increase in vaping since October, according to Deneka Michaud, spokesperson for the school district.

"Students are doing it during class time, so they're either prearranging to meet, or they're texting each other and then they're leaving class to vape, and the most popular places are washrooms, as well as change rooms," she said.

The changes at the school are only temporary, she added.

The school says the gym locker rooms will only be open at the beginning and end of classes for changing, and staff have been asked to restrict the number of students who leave class and monitor how long they are away.

School aides have been told to speak to any students who are in the hall during class.

Some students at the school told CBC they don't believe locking down the bathrooms will make a difference, while others said they're missing out on valuable classroom time because they have to walk much further to get to an open bathroom.

The school says students need to look into the potential health risks of vaping.

"Vaping poses significant and immediate health risks for all those who do it. The bottom line is that vaping is having a significant negative impact on our community and our learning environment and it is illegal for all of the students in this building for a reason," the note reads.

With files from Tina Lovgreen