Please Stop Smoking in the Bathrooms


Imagine the following scenario: You walk into a class and take your seat. Students slowly roll into the classroom. One makes their way to the desk next to yours and sits down. Suddenly, you are hit with the strong, distinctive smell of weed, or artificial fruit fumes depending on the person. You sigh a little to yourself. This is going to be a long period.

For many at Shorecrest, myself included, we don’t have to imagine this. People smoking, vaping, and whatever else on school property has been a growing issue in recent years. This year, however, it seems especially bad. 

Some facts about vaping, for your consideration (infographic via Spectrum Health).

To make myself clear, I do not care if you choose to smoke on your own time and property. While I can’t endorse or encourage it, it’s really none of my business. What bothers me is when the bathrooms smell like the inside of a bong. It bothers me when the fumes coming off of you give me a headache in the middle of class. And frankly, it bothers me that so many people seem to have no awareness of how their actions affect those around them. 

I sent out a survey to Shorecrest students in order to find out what the general school opinion is on this. According to the responses I received (which only represent a small portion of the student body and may be biased), over 33% of students see students smoking/vaping on school grounds nearly every day. Nearly 90% had seen or smelled it at least once this year. 43% even reported that they go out of their way to avoid certain school bathrooms because they don’t want to be around people vaping.

In this survey, I asked a number of students about how they’ve been affected by smoking and vaping going on in the school. Some responses may be edited slightly due to length or readability.

One student said that “[People vaping around me] makes me anxious and also I hate the smell.” Another said that she had been “vaped in the face” while exiting a bathroom. “…a girl huffed a big white cloud in my face. It was unpleasant and annoying.” Another student said, “I can’t go into the bathrooms a lot because the smell of vape and smoke is too bad and hurts my head and makes it hard to breathe.” 

Other students said they were not bothered by the smell, but rather the people taking up spots in the bathroom for long periods of time. One student said, “People who vape take the bathroom pass for up to 45 minutes each class and leave me needing to pee but unable to leave the class.” Another said, “It’s annoying when the stalls are all being used when I actually need to go to the bathroom.” Students abusing the bathroom passes to skip class is a whole other issue entirely, but a lot of it is connected to vaping.

So what can be done about this? Honestly, I’m not sure. As one anonymous student pointed out, “I’m gonna be honest, y’all are not gonna be able to do much about this without invading everyone’s privacy so good luck.” The fact that so much smoking happens in the bathrooms makes it difficult to monitor without invading the privacy of students just trying to use the toilet. As this is the case, it is mostly up to us as students to be aware of ourselves and our actions. I want to ask anyone who does smoke or vape to be more considerate of the other students at this school. It is frustrating and gross for the majority of your peers. If you must smoke at school (which I again can’t condone, as this is a school publication), I ask that you try to do it outside or away from other students. If you know someone who vapes, maybe encourage them to do it somewhere else, or better yet, stop altogether.