Nicotine problem at AHS


Jenny Ellis

Confiscated nicotine products that have been collected from students over a few years by the AHS administration.

Aspen, Colorado is known for its prominence of wealthy families and second home owners. Although the general culture that is created by this population is considered ‘classy’, there are a multitude of underlying issues that come with access to large amounts of money. One of those major problems involves underage nicotine usage. At AHS this problem is wide-spread and difficult to regulate.

So far, there have only been 15 nicotine-related disciplinary infractions during 2021-2022 school year. However, , nicotine detectors go off and average of seven times a day – sending a text alert to both Becky Oliver, Assistant Principal, and Sarah Strassburger, Principal. Although these alerts are effective in notifying administration, it is impossible to catch everyone. When students are caught, there are administrative protocols in place to rehabilitate them, but there is no way to completely halt the usage of nicotine in the teen age group.

Sebastian Cisneros, an AHS Senior, thinks that administration could do a better job educating the students on the issue, rather than focusing on eliminating the problem.

“I don’t believe it is the school’s job to crack down on illegal drugs outside of school. But they can educate students as to why it’s unhealthy. Students private lives should be respected, as long as there are not violations on school grounds,” Cisneros said.

Nadia Debska, an AHS Senior, believes although this is a problem at AHS she doesn’t view it as a issue that the administration needs to deal with.

“I think it’s a problem across the country, not necessarily just Aspen. Obviously having money makes it easier for people to get a pack of pods or something, but it’s a larger problem. I don’t think its fair or realistic to expect the administration to stop that type of thing completely,” Debska said.

Clare Irvin, an AHS Sophomore, finds that although the problem is wide spread, the majority of the student body doesn’t participate in these types of activities in school.

“I never really see a lot of people doing stuff at school. I know it happens, but honestly I think its less so in school and more so outside of it. And obviously the administration doesn’t really have control over what happens off campus,” Irvin said.