The student had been caught vaping in school three times before he sat in the vice principal’s office at Cape Elizabeth High School in Maine this winter and shamefacedly admitted what by then was obvious.
“I can’t stop,” he told the vice principal, Nate Carpenter.
So Mr. Carpenter asked the school nurse about getting the teenager nicotine gum or a patch, to help him get through the school day without violating the rules prohibiting vaping.
E-cigarettes have been touted by their makers and some public health experts as devices to help adult smokers kick the habit. But school officials, struggling to control an explosion of vaping among high school and middle school students across the country, fear that the devices are creating a new generation of nicotine addicts.
In his four years at Cape Elizabeth, Mr. Carpenter says he can’t recall seeing a single student smoke a cigarette. But vaping is suddenly everywhere.