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New device helps schools detect vaping

FlySafe on display at AASA Conference in San Diego
Posted at 8:25 AM, Feb 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-13 11:25:51-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - New technology is offering schools another weapon in the battle against vaping and e-cigarettes.

At this week's National Conference on Education, Soter Technologies is promoting its FlySense machine. It's similar to a smoke detector but tuned to sense vaping byproducts in the air.

"We can determine if a flavor is in the air, if THC is in the air, or if nicotine is in the air," says CEO Derek Peterson. "The device can determine what's in the air, whether someone's using a jewel pen, vaping, or an old fashioned e-cigarette, or a regular cigarette."

The device then sends an alert to cell phones of nearby teachers and administrators so they can respond. Peterson says they've already sold 7,000 FlySense devices around the country, including 1,000 in California.

It's helping schools fight a growing epidemic. A recent study in the Journal of American Medicine says 5.3 million teenagers admit to using e-cigarettes. The CDC says they're harmful to kids and adults and can be addictive.

"Kids get hooked on the vaping pens because of the nicotine content," says Peterson. "They think it's cool. And then before you know it, they're trapped. They're hooked on the nicotine. They can't get off."

In addition to the FlySense machine, Peterson's company gives schools an educational curriculum to teach the dangers of nicotine and vaping.

Because the machines have no cameras or recording equipment, Peterson says many schools install the devices in bathrooms and locker rooms, areas where cameras aren't allowed, and teachers can't monitor.

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