School in Progress to Install Bathroom Vape Detectors

Serena Birchard, Reporter

     MILILANI – Within a year, Mililani High School administrators will begin to install vape detectors in the school bathrooms. In doing so, they hope to reduce the amount of students that camp out in the bathroom for the sole purpose of vaping, and help other students feel safe and comfortable. 

     “This is the first time I ever was afraid, honestly afraid, that my kids in this class year 2023 are not going to live to graduation, because this stuff is killing people,” said Vice Principal Andrea Moore, who has been working at MHS since 1991. 

     The matter of vape detectors is still being discussed with the Department of Education, but it is planned to be installed next school year after it is state approved. Similar to vape detectors on modern planes, they work by pointing out certain chemicals that are in the vaping devices. These vape detectors use an ammonia based air sample system to detect both THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and nicotine. This technology is predicted to cost at least $1,400 per detector. 

     “Bathrooms have constantly been an area that students have identified being unsafe and uncomfortable. And when we question them on why they feel unsafe and uncomfortable in the bathroom, it’s often times associated with the risk for behavior that’s going on in there. And a lot of times it includes vaping,” said Health teacher Carina Morgan.

     Before the first quarter, the amount of people caught for vaping was overwhelming, but the school administration managed to reduce the amount of students caught vaping down to 40 percent of the 15 to 20 students that were caught a day. These new detectors aren’t necessarily going to be used to “bust” kids, but it will make it more convenient for security.

     “I think vape detectors are a good idea but at the same time, the issue can be addressed in a different way. For instance there could be harsher punishments for being caught with vape items or have administration patrol around campus to enforce the rule,” said Sophomore Ryne Nakaguma.

     With Mililani High School being the first school in the state of Hawai‘i to implement vape detectors, there are some concerns. Since most schools in Hawai‘i, unlike the mainland, are outdoors, there’s a possibility that the wind will affect the results of these detectors and the sensitivity of it. For this purpose, MHS will be installing two different types of vape detectors and testing which one works better.  One version is called “Flysense” and is manufactured by Soter Technologies, and the “Halo IOT Smart Sensor” was created by IP Video Corporation. 

     For more information on these specific models you can visit or