Torrey Pines graduate invents vaping detector

Shachar Habusha
Shachar Habusha

With vaping on the rise among children, a former Torrey Pines High School student wants to distribute vaping detectors to local schools to help them put a stop to the dangerous trend.

“I started researching more about the problem and how I could reach the goal of eventually making a vape detector,” said Shachar Habusha, currently a freshman studying computer science at MiraCosta College.

Through his recently launched company, SaveZ (Save Generation Z) he has been manufacturing the detectors and wants to conduct outreach to schools to see if they’re interested in installing them.

Habusha said he got the idea for the vaping detector from his father. He added that the devices can be placed on bathroom walls, where children at school often go to vape, and they can detect the chemicals that are emitted by vaping. The vice principal at Torrey Pines gave him access to a school bathroom to test his first prototype.

Habusha also said that it’s hard for many adults to understand how big of a problem vaping has become because many of the devices are easy to hide, often shaped like flash drives, credit cards or other common items that wouldn’t arouse a parent’s suspicion. And unlike cigarette smoke, the vapor left behind by vaping devices such as e-cigarettes and e-hookahs disappears quickly and doesn’t leave a lingering odor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is among the many organizations that warn against youth vaping, since many vaping products usually contain nicotine and can lead to addiction.

“As a kid, you see it everywhere,” said Habusha, who was part of the Torrey Pines class of 2019 after moving to California from Israel for his sophomore year.

Vaping products were once hailed as a revolutionary type of smoking cessation device, but some of the tobacco companies behind vaping use marketing tactics aimed at children, such as candy-like packaging.

He also cited an article in the Torrey Pines High School Falconer that describes the prevalence of vaping among children, and the way some of them use fake IDs or enlisting an older sibling to obtain vaping products.

“I think they marketed it so well to the point where kids don’t understand that it’s not healthy,” Habusha said.

Throughout the country, some of the worst cases of children vaping include a 15-year-old from Texas who became the youngest vaping-related fatality. In Michigan, a teenager needed a double-lung transplant.

“Once I conquer this, who knows what I’ll be able to do later on,” Habusha said.

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