The Warren County Board of Education has voted to ban e-cigarettes on all school campuses, the ban covering both students and teachers.
“The board felt it was time to clarify this issue since these electronic cigarettes are becoming popular,” said School Board attorney Robin Phillips, who helped craft the policy.
Since e-cigarettes don’t have the same overpowering smoke as a regular cigarette, there have been reports of students using e-cigarettes in school bathrooms. Of the students who have been caught, there have been questions about the proper disciplinary measures since e-cigarettes are not covered in the policy manual.
The new policy will officially go into effect if the School Board approves it on second read at its next meeting. The measure will classify e-cigarettes under the same umbrella as regular cigarettes. The rule will apply to visitors as well.
“There’s a lot we don’t know about e-cigarettes,” Phillips noted, pointing to recent steps by the state and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to get a handle on the now-popular cigarette alternative.
Proponents of e-cigarettes maintain they are a means of getting off nicotine that’s safer than regular cigarettes since there are fewer chemicals. The nicotine levels can be adjusted in the “juice” that is put in the e-cigs, reducing it from a full load to no nicotine at all. Proponents also note e-cigs use vapor and therefore offer less danger of second-hand smoke.
Those against e-cigarettes say there hasn’t been enough information gathered and the product can be used as a means to hook users on nicotine without using tobacco.
Phillips said e-cigarettes will fall under the same rule that governs smoking at school events such as football games. State law requires smokers go to designated smoking areas.