Youth vaping could soon reach epidemic proportions. The Verkada Vape Activity Index shows a 20% year-over-year (YoY) increase in teen vaping use in the 2022-2023 academic year. Research gathered by the American Lung Association points to a variety of health risks associated with vaping, from exposure to dangerous chemicals, to increased risk for lung and heart disease.
To combat these alarming trends, many schools install monitoring devices, vape detectors, and video security cameras. Vape detectors are capable of detecting on-campus vaping. Some states require in-bathroom monitoring by law. For example, West Virginia House Bill 3271 requires “an audio recording device to a public school to be used in the restroom of each self-contained classroom that is a part of that school.”
To support (and fund) these and other health-related causes, schools can secure grants from many different federal, state, and local sources.
Overview of grants available for schools
These grants are typically funded by government agencies, private foundations, or non-profit organizations with one thing in common: a goal to promote school safety and student well-being. Grants provide a means for fairly allocating resources to address critical issues in schools. Curbing youth vaping is a critical issue.
Grants can help fund vape detection systems, training programs for staff, and awareness campaigns. To explore specific grant opportunities and resources for school safety, start with the SchoolSafety.gov Grants Finder Tool.
How to find federal grants for vape detectors in schools
Grants.gov is another valuable resource for school districts seeking federal grant funding. It’s a vast database of federal grant opportunities across numerous federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education. This site is a great one stop shop to identify, apply for, and manage federal grant funding.
Tips for using Grants.gov:
- Check this website regularly for updates and new funding opportunities
- Search by keywords, such as “vaping,” “vape detectors,” or “school safety”
- Use the application workspace to complete applications, attach documents, and submit proposals
- Opt into email notifications to receive updates on grant opportunities, guidelines, and deadlines
SAMHSA grant opportunities
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant opportunities are instrumental in supporting a wide range of behavioral health initiatives, including initiatives like substance abuse prevention, mental health treatment, and recovery support services. Visit the SAMHSA Grant Dashboard to search for available grants.
Sources of Alternative Funding
Beyond federal and state grants, look for alternative funding sources. In particular, corporate sponsorships, nonprofit organizations, and Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) play a pivotal role in supporting school health-related causes—including initiatives like the installation of vape detection systems.
Local businesses or corporations may be willing to fund vape detectors for your school. Many companies want to support their local schools, and employees might have students who attend your school and want to ensure a healthy environment. Organizations aiming to curb vaping can reach out to these organizations to explore potential grant opportunities.
Organizations can also approach local businesses for collaboration and support. Many local businesses are committed to the well-being of their communities. As such, some will participate in both direct donations and fundraising sponsorships.
Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)
PTAs can be quite powerful, especially when they’re united behind a cause. You may be able to enlist your local PTA to coordinate fundraising efforts in support of the installation of vape detectors. Typically, that process is as follows:
1. Conduct a needs assessment
Detail the scope and funding required for installation. This should include an evaluation of the number of detectors needed, placement, associated costs, and any additional resources required.
2. Define clear fundraising goals
Specify the amount needed, alongside a reasonable timeframe for securing the funds.
3. Engage PTA members
Present and evangelize the project’s importance to student safety. Encourage active involvement and commitment to fundraising efforts.
4. Run educational or vape prevention campaigns
Raise awareness within the school community about the dangers of vaping and the role of technology in addressing the vaping epidemic. Host informational sessions or workshops for parents, teachers, and students.
Build relationships with nonprofit organizations in your community. Many of these organizations already support school initiatives. For example:
Successful vape detector implementation: Chartwell School
As Director of Information Technology and Campus Management, John Langrill is in charge of Chartwell’s facilities and IT strategy. He’s also directly responsible for the implementation of the school’s vape detection system. For Langrill, the problem was a familiar one: he needed a way to detect and prevent smoking in the private bathrooms while protecting student privacy.
“We use Verkada sensors to detect and prevent vaping in bathrooms…The sensors were up for only three days before I received my first text alert that someone was vaping in the bathroom. We now have a camera that overlooks the main corridor outside the bathrooms, so when vape smoke is detected we have immediate video context into the situation.”
Since the implementation of these environmental sensors, Chartwell School has seen 96% faster incident resolution and +50% fewer false-positive alerts. It’s worth noting that school uses these sensors for more than just vape detection.
Read the full case study.
Other resources and readings for schools Interested in learning more about vape detectors
The youth vaping epidemic is as serious as it is persistent. Thankfully, there’s both the technology and related funding available to combat the problem. For additional information on how to find grants for vape detectors in schools, please see: