A headteacher has issued a stark warning about the dangers of vaping after four pupils were taken ill after using an electronic cigarette.

Westhoughton High School staff called an ambulance after the schoolchildren had inhaled a substance using an electronic cigarette.

The incident happened last week, and is the latest in which Bolton schoolchildren have fallen ill in schools after vaping.

Turton School in Bromley Cross and St Joseph's RC High School in Horwich have had cases where young people have collapsed after using the devices which have been filled with an unknown substance.

The Bolton News: Westhoughton High School

Now headteachers across Bolton are working with the authorities, including the police, to address the issue and to raise awareness of the dangers of children vaping.

The head of Westhoughton High School has warned it is only a matter of time before a child falls seriously, if not fatally, ill as a result of inhaling unknown substances.

This is the third time Westhoughton School has had to call paramedics after pupils inhaled an unknown substance through a vape device.

The Bolton News: File picture of vaping Image: Pixabay

In previous cases children had vaped off school premises, but reported feeling ill after arriving at school.

Headteacher Neil Coe said: "This is a really worrying trend in our young people.

"We are educating our young people as best we can but the message is a difficult one to drive home with those who use vapes.

"More needs to be done to address and raise awareness of the real risks children are putting themselves in. It only takes a child to use a vape with toxic substance in once to fall seriously if not fatally ill.

“We do not know what substances are being inhaled and people need to be aware of the dangers of children getting hold of vapes.

"Many of the parents of students who have had adverse reactions to the unknown contents of a vape have been unaware that their children are vaping.

"My advice would be that every parent speaks directly to their child about the risks of vaping. I fear it is now only a matter of time before a young person is really ill, or worse, as a result of vaping an unknown substance.

"I have spoken to other headteachers who share my concerns.

"I am lucky that Bolton Secondary Headteachers are a very supportive group, I have benefitted from the advice and guidance of colleagues who have experienced the same as we try to navigate this challenging issue together.

"We have been very fortunate to have secured a high-level of support from the local police and other agencies."

Mr Coe said schools are finding increasing numbers of young acquiring vapes from the 'black market' which can be laced with drugs, LSD, GHB, MDMA (ecstasy), ketamine, kratom, opioids, including fentanyl and marijuana (THC/CBD).

He added: "Seeing some of our learners going to A&E in the week before Christmas with heart rates in excess of 200 bpm, terrified me as a headteacher and a father."

The school is trying to police as best as possible the use of vapes with toilet areas being monitored more frequently, but Mr Coe said he needs the support of parents to really tackle the issue of vaping among young people.

He warned that the school has a strong stance on illegal substances being brought on the school site and those found breaking the rule risk permanent exclusion.

And parents are being told that they may be asked to attend school to support with a search where there there is suspicion of students carrying vapes.