Clouded Judgement: Youth Vaping




December 21, 2023

As parents, we've all been there – we successfully manage one challenge, only to find ourselves face-to-face with another!

We do our best to prepare ourselves for the unknowns ahead and just when we think we've got it figured out, a new level of the game begins – just as it was starting to feel like smoking is so last century, vaping enters the chat.

Why do industries create and market harmful products, especially when they seem designed to appeal to youth? Don’t we all know better by now?

Vaping, with its sleek devices and variety of candy-like flavours, has firmly embedded itself in current youth culture. The widespread use and constant visibility of vaping, along with the social pressures surrounding it, contribute to curiosity and experimentation among our youth.

Kevin Kuiack, the Assistant Superintendent of Safe and Accepting Schools at Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board (SMCDSB), has been dedicated to the education system for 32 years. He plays a crucial role in developing and implementing safety measures, such as threat assessment protocols and bullying prevention plans, while also addressing topics like mental health and vaping.

In the latest Beyond the Bell podcast, Kevin and Chantelle explore the alarming rise of vaping among youth in the Simcoe Muskoka region. They are joined by student leaders who provide local statistics and facts about vaping, shedding light on the challenges schools face in addressing this complex issue. 

Chantelle: This episode will take us Beyond The Bell and into the topic of vaping. Are young people doing it? Why do they do it? How are schools addressing this complex issue?

Kevin: It really troubles me that within Simcoe region there are so many young people involved in vaping. Our rates are double the amount of the whole province’s. That's a scary statistic. It is important that we consider why youth are trying vaping and how many might be battling addiction.

One of the key pieces we have to pay attention to is how powerful the  cigarette and vaping industries are. We have to pay attention to their marketing tactics affecting and influencing our youth. Now that we know more about vaping and the industry, we have the tools available to us to help youth understand just how much they are being manipulated and lured into a vaping addiction while the industry profits soar."

Chantelle: … When you think about all the different flavours and the marketing around that, particularly for vaping, it really stands out who these products are marketed to.

Kevin: Agreed. We need to educate our youth and get them to a better understanding of what they’re getting themselves into. One of the best resources I’ve seen around in the last little while is It supports students, but is also a great support and guideline for parents.

Chantelle: Not An Experiment helps educate students, parents and caregivers about strategies to approach a conversation around vaping. It … targets youth to help with how to say “no” to vaping in a way that won’t have big social impacts — which is a barrier for some youth… And we know how very quickly vaping can become an addiction.

Kevin: Even just from a progressive discipline standpoint, the research tells us that there is a strong potential for addiction, and when we know a student might be addicted, we must consider when responding.

If we feel there could be an addiction in place, we have to ask why are they getting into vaping, and then coming up with a bigger plan of support. One of the key pieces is having that conversation about what we can do to support the student, and getting the parents involved in that conversation as well.

Navigating the challenges of parenting, especially when it comes to the issue of youth vaping, requires us to stay informed and know the facts. Making use of resources like and keeping communication channels open can make a significant difference. Working together — parents, caregivers, and educators alike — let's strive to understand and guide our kids through the clouds of uncertainty.

If you would like more support and resources, don't forget to visit

You can also follow @smcdsb_mhwb on Instagram, and check out our student mental health website at

Listen to the full audio version on Beyond the Bell Podcast below: