In an effort to combat the vaping crisis in high schools, authorities are considering installing vape detectors in the state’s public schools beginning in July. According to Department of Education documents, the detectors would be installed in common areas, such as bathrooms, and would be equipped with Wi-Fi technology that sends notifications when a student is vaping. These detectors should not contain cameras or microphones, but they should be able to detect vape and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) without violating privacy. The plan is to supply 40,000 units within the first 12 months of the contract, starting in July 2023.
Education Minister Prue Car criticized the previous government for allowing vaping to become widespread in schools, and the new Labor government is evaluating various options to address the problem. They have committed to hosting a roundtable on smoking and vaping in schools within their first year in office and have supported the installation of e-cigarette detectors in common vaping areas, such as bathrooms. Labor will also announce plans to offer permanent employment to teachers with temporary contracts, beginning with 1,400 teachers in high-needs and difficult-to-staff schools in the third term of this year.
A Department of Education spokesperson said they were testing the market with the call for tenders for vape detectors, aiming to implement approved approaches as quickly as possible. Some experts believe that the installation of vape detectors should be only one component of an anti-vaping strategy, and that students should have access to government-funded nicotine withdrawal programs as an alternative to suspension.