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Green High School students working to build more effective vaping sensors

They are trying not only to curb the vaping epidemic, but earn money for their STEM program as well.

GREEN, Ohio — Vaping has become an epidemic among teens in the United States, and students at Green High School say they've seen it first hand.

"Instead of paying attention in class, they're thinking about getting their next fix of nicotine," senior Nicholas Breth says.

Schools have been setting up sensors in bathrooms that trigger an alarm to alert administrators when someone is vaping. Green has them, and they cost about $1,000 each.

"They're working better than no sensors, but students are finding a way to beat them whether it's blowing the smoke in their shirts or in the toilet," Berth explains.

So Breth and his classmates are working to build a new device, one that would be more affordable and effective.

"We have a thermal sensor and a chemical sensor, so our thermal sensor will pick up the heat from the vape while also taking in the solvent in vape, propylene glycol," he told 3News.

It would also cut the cost of the sensor by 90%, coming in at around $100 instead of $1,000.

The students are competing in Samsung's national "Solve For Tomorrow" challenge. If they win, the school's STEM program would be awarded $100,000.

"It's fantastic," teacher Chris Kriebel said. "The passion the students have, what they've had to overcome, and how they approach the design process, is really impressive."

But for these kids, it's about being a part of something bigger: They're also building a website and app with information for kids and their parents.

"If we implement education and resources as well, we'll be able to educate the youth, the future of society, away from vaping and while also helping people who are addicted to get away from it."

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