Principals, activists meet to discuss new vape shops


Courtesy of Google Earth

Shirah Lister and Sarah Morgan

Principals of Wilson, Deal, and Georgetown Day School (GDS) met on October 24 to discuss the proximity of Wawa and Smoke Island, which sell vaping devices. The meeting is partly in response to concerns from parents, who organized in opposition to the opening of Smoke Island. 

Matt Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, was also at the meeting. There were no representatives from Wawa or Smoke Island.

It was the first meeting of many to come. Myers’ campaign is based in DC, and of all the attendees, he knew the most about vaping and tobacco use in teens, especially widespread juuling. 

Myers shared thoughts about how student vape usage should be addressed, and explained the basics of vaping and the effect it has upon tobacco use in children, stating that the fault is with the addictive properties of the vape products, not the students.

“Kids are becoming addicted [to cigarettes] at a level we have… never seen before,” he said. “We feel pretty strongly that we should never say the kids are the wrongdoers because they are using these products that they become addicted to really quickly.”

Martin agreed, talking about her work with Truth Initiative, an organization dedicated to inspiring teens to live tobacco-free and educating kids with nicotine addictions to help them to quit. 

She also commented on the new policies Wilson has implemented to discourage vaping. 

“This year, every time we confiscate something, we’re sending them home,” Martin said. “We’re trying to send a more consistent message that this is not healthy and we are all on the same page on prioritizing student health.”

By the end of the meeting, the participants agreed that while Smoke Island poses a potential issue, Wawa, which is so close to Wilson, Deal, and GDS and sells vaping and smoking “gear,” is a bigger problem. 

There were several suggestions on how to proceed, but they mentioned that asking Wawa to stop selling the paraphernalia might be the next step in moving against teen nicotine use.