pearson-kelly technology blog

Detect and Prevent Student Vaping at School

Know there's vaping happening at your school, but not sure what to do about it? Find out the best way to identify and prevent vaping.

How to Prevent Vaping in Schools

While new federal reports point to a decline in vaping use among younger populations, it remains at epidemic levels. Disposable and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes (both exempt from federal restrictions) gained almost 3/4 of the market over the last year, with disposable use increasing 1000 percent in high school students.

stat charts

Most headlines discuss the medical implications of vaping in schools for a single student, but most neglect to mention the impact on other students, faculty, and staff, especially where there isn’t proper air circulation or filtering, like in locker rooms or bathrooms.

Education is essential to help mitigate the use of vaping in schools, but past campaigns have shown little effectiveness in solving the problem. Prevention helps schools protect their students, faculty, and staff and address the issue in real time.

How to Detect Vaping in Schools

Detection is the number one issue for prevention efforts by school officials. Unlike cigarettes or marijuana, vaping leaves no detectable scent, making it difficult for school officials to know when vaping is happening or by whom. Students hide their vaping in schools, reducing the noticeability of vape clouds or vaping in areas like bathrooms or locker rooms.

This makes it difficult to catch students in the act but doesn’t change the impact of exhaled vapor on the breakdown of chemicals in the air at any given time — including nicotine, propylene glycol, and glycerol. These chemicals increase levels of total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), particulate matter, and other cancer-causing chemicals.

Using Data to Detect Vaping in Schools

While you may not see these chemicals or the vapor clouds around students as you’re monitoring the halls, the residual chemical compounds can be detected and measured by sensor-based devices. By measuring the levels of TVOCs, PM2.5, and other environmental changes, administrators can detect when and where vaping happens in their schools.

The SV11 Environmental Sensor detects meaningful changes across your campus instantly. This means schools can leverage sensor-based data to monitor vaping without being present.

How It Works

As vaping occurs, school officials see spikes in the Vape Index, which measures against a range of different onboard sensors, identifying the likelihood of vaping or smoking on a scale of 1 to 100. Administrators can even set custom thresholds and receive real-time alerts to their mobile phones or emails when activity exceeds that threshold. Alerts can also be sent to pre-selected faculty and on-campus security to stop vaping or smoking when and where it’s happening.

All sensor data is mapped to a timeline, giving administrators a complete view of when and where these events occur on campus. Additionally, administrators can pair security cameras with their sensors and get visual evidence to see what happened, identify the student(s) involved, and take immediate action.

Insights Beyond Vaping in Schools

While there are clear benefits for detecting vaping in schools, the additional onboard sensors make the SV11 a powerful tool across your school district. Sensor readings include:

➤ Air Quality Index (AQI)

➤ Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM 2.5)

➤ Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOCs)

➤ Temperature

➤Relative Humidity

➤ Vaping and Smoking

➤ Noise Levels

➤ Motion Detection

Additional Uses for Sensors in Schools

Bullying and Fighting

Use noise detection to monitor for levels indicating yelling or shouting.

Server Rooms

Protect server equipment from potential damage or loss by monitoring temperature changes.


Ensure areas are appropriately sanitized by measuring TVOC levels for cleaning products across high-traffic areas.

Food Shortage

Reduce the loss of spoiled food by ensuring dry and refrigerated food storage areas are at safe temperatures and humidity levels.

Our Recent Blogs