Wyoming County Schools now has a zero tolerance policy for vapor products of any kind.
Based on a revised county policy, vapor products, such as electronic cigarettes and vapor pens, are now classified as drug paraphernalia, explained Deirdre Cline, county schools superintendent.
The revised policy was approved by the county Board of Education in March.
She lauded the board for their “vision and foresight” in amending county policy to protect the health and safety of students and to reflect the dangers associated with vaping.
Inhaling, and exhaling, the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device is considered vaping.
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First marketed as a safe alternative to smoking, vapor products are now coming under more scrutiny.
With varied flavors, such as strawberry and chocolate cake, the products appeal to adults and teens.
As more evidence becomes available, the products are proving to be more of a health risk than cigarettes – especially to teens.
Pockets of mysterious lung diseases and injuries in teens are currently being reported across the nation and are being traced back to vaping.
One recent teen death has also been attributed to vaping.
Teens are also using the vapor paraphernalia to inhale marijuana, cannabis products, methamphetamine, heroine, and other illegal substances, according to officials.
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The zero tolerance policy also applies to tobacco products of any kind, Cline noted.
The county board has instituted a ban on all smoking on any school property at any time. Both adults and students are now prohibited from the use of tobacco or tobacco-substitute products in school buildings, on school grounds, during any school-sponsored function – both during school hours and after school hours, Cline said.
However, the vapor products are now “treated as a separate and more serious offense” than tobacco use, based on the revised drug policy.
“This doesn’t have a place in our schools,” Cline emphasized.