MECHANICVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows electronic cigarettes or vapes, are the most commonly used tobacco product among middle and high school students. The Mechanicville City School District knows about the problem firsthand.

“It smells like medicine, like, it’s fruity,” said Mechanicville senior Sophia Tamasi, referring to the smell of vapes.

It’s an issue that keeps the student-athlete away from the school bathrooms sometimes. “Because you can’t really go to the bathroom. Like, I’m not going to the bathroom while there are several people in a stall,” she said.

“I think it’s just addicting. Like if you start, and your friend got into it, it could be peer pressure,” said Cruz Goverski, who doesn’t smoke, either, but is well aware of the problem.

“They just group up in the bathroom. When you gotta go to the bathroom, it’s hard to get in there,” Goverski added. “Do what you gotta do and get out.”

The hot-button issue had the district install special vape detectors in school bathrooms last year. And so far, they have been working, according to the school’s Outreach Coordinator Ken Cooper.

“The vape detector will go off,” Cooper explained. “My phone will be alerted. It says vape detected, vape detected.”

It happens at least three to four times a day, according to Cooper. But there is one issue preventing Cooper from intervening. “A lot of times, by the time we get there, the bathrooms are empty.”

The compact size of the vapes makes them hard to track. “Because they put it in their pockets, hide it somewhere else,” Cooper explained.

But the detectors aren’t just there for smoke and mirrors. The district believes they have been helping to slow down an epidemic targeting their young students. “It’s not about ‘hey, we caught you.’ It’s about getting you the help you need,” Cooper added.

Cooper also shared, that if vapes are confiscated, the school guidance counselors will often step in with the resources available to help kick the habit. Cooper also urged parents to check their kids’ rooms for vaping devices and have an open dialogue with their children about the harmful effects.