WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Middle Tennessee school district is changing the way it handles vaping after seeing a big increase in the number of incidents this past school year.

Wilson County Schools are cracking down on the rise of incidents after the number of vaping items seized during the school year reached record numbers. 

E-cigarette use has risen steadily among youth in Tennessee with an increase of 92% from 2017 to 2019, according to data from the Tennessee Health Department. 

In fact, the increase can be seen in Wilson County Schools with the district confiscating 248 vape devices last school year and 356 devices this year. Wilson County Schools spokesperson Bartt Barker says the numbers prove vaping is becoming a growing problem in the schools. 

“The way that students are able to conceal these, they’re very small most of them are very small in nature, and they can put them in places that aren’t easily visible to see, and that’s become a problem,” said Barker. 

To get ahead of addressing vaping among students, Wilson County Schools are teaming up with Drug Free Wilson County to implement a new set of policies. 

Under the new policy, students will have to attend educational programs if caught with vaping devices. The first offense comes with a three-day suspension and a self-paced online program. The second offense is a 5-day suspension and an educational program that has to be attended in person. 

Barker says the school district hopes the new policy educates students and parents about the dangers that come with some of the substances the students are vaping.

“You know, we are in an era now, in the grand scheme of things, vaping is still relatively new, it hasn’t been around for many, many years,” said Barker, “I think the one thing is the substances that are being vaped, you know, there’s different trends, there’s different things that come about, and we want to educate our students and families about the dangers of some of these substances and what is being faked.”

Barker says the public needs to stay on top of vaping trends as a community to ensure kids are being educated properly.