A New Approach to Curbing Vaping in Schools

The last few years have seen vaping become an increasingly popular activity among teenagers across the country. Today, 2.5 million American middle and high school students openly admit to vaping. The true number is undoubtedly even higher. It’s no surprise, then, that some doctors are calling the practice an epidemic among the nation’s youth.

The risks of the practice are undeniable. While less hazardous to a person’s health than cigarettes, vapes still present serious dangers. According to the CDC, they can contain a variety of hazardous substances including nicotine, cancer-causing agents, heavy metals like lead, and volatile organic compounds. Many health experts are worried about the long-term effects of e-cigarette use (and second-hand e-cigarette smoke) on teens’ lungs and lung development.

Unfortunately, the return to in-person teaching in the wake of the pandemic saw a spike in vaping on school property. Institutions across the country from Pennsylvania and Alabama to Texas and Oregon have seen school bathrooms become hotbeds of vape use during school hours. Given that it’s illegal to install security cameras in these spaces, they are a perfect place to engage in illicit vaping without getting caught.

Or at least they were. A recent new development from the team at Avigilon, the HALO Smart Sensor, is transforming the way schools approach vaping on their campuses. Read on to learn more about the devices and why more than 1,000 schools across the country have chosen to install them.


A New Solution to a Growing Problem: Vape Detectors

While not initially created for that purpose, the HALO Smart Sensor is transforming vaping detection in schools. The device, which resembles a large smoke detector, is designed to detect a wide variety of airborne chemicals — including the THC and tobacco released by e-cigarettes. Because it doesn’t collect any images, the HALO can be installed in areas that previously went unmonitored, including bathrooms.

Developed by New York-based security technology company IPVideo Corp., HALO was initially designed to address security issues rather than student health concerns. The goal was to create a sensor that offered many of the same security benefits as a camera while still maintaining people’s personal privacy, allowing it to be installed in locker rooms, hospital rooms, bathrooms, and more. By the time HALO came to market, IPVideo had created a tool that could detect both airborne chemicals and sounds — including gunshots, yelling, and even noise level fluctuations that could indicate bullying — without a video lens.

Integrating HALO with the Avigilon Control Center (ACC) means that whenever HALO detects any changes that indicate potential banned behavior, like vaping, the device can automatically send an alert in ACC to ensure that an event that may otherwise have gone unnoticed can be acted on. That way school administrators or security personnel can respond quickly to stop the illicit behavior. Integration also means you can make HALO part of your broader security infrastructure so you can access advanced data analytics from Avigilon that help you keep track of violation alarm rates and implement changes accordingly.

And those aren’t the only benefits of the HALO Smart Sensor. Because the device is really a package of more than twelve sensors rolled into one, a single HALO Smart Sensor can help with:

  • Vape and THC Detection
  • Air Quality Monitoring
  • Spread of Infectious Diseases Prevention
  • Chemical and Gas Detection
  • Aggression Detection and Calls for Help
  • Gunshot Detection
  • Vandalism and Trespassing Alerts


Start Curbing Vaping in Your School Today

Although the best way to prevent vaping in schools is to keep kids from ever engaging in the practice in the first place, the reality is that the dangerous practice is on the rise and it’s up to school administrators to take steps to keep it from occurring within school walls. The HALO Smart Sensor presents an innovative new way for schools to approach that effort, making it possible to detect vaping in areas that previously went unmonitored.

For the schools that have installed HALO, the effects are evident practically right away. At the La Grande School District in Oregon, for example, the HALO sensor has already acted as a deterrent against student vaping with Assistant Principal Eric Freeman reporting that his school has not dealt with many instances of vaping since the devices were installed in October.

For schools interested in curbing vaping on their own campuses, the HALO Smart Sensor presents a groundbreaking new approach. As with other technology, the best way to make the most of HALO’s potential benefits is by partnering with a specialist that can handle installation, integration, and more to ensure the device is performing optimally. Turn-key Technologies, Inc. (TTI) is that specialist. With decades of experience outfitting schools for success, the experts at TTI are ready to help you stop vaping in its tracks. Contact us today to learn more about the HALO Smart Sensor and if it’s right for you.

By Sharon Carolan


Sign up for the TTI Newsletter