School district amends tobacco policy to prohibit all vaping devices

Posted 10/17/19

Vaping is not allowed in Powell schools, and an amended policy makes that even clearer.

For years, Park County School District No. 1 has banned electronic cigarettes, tobacco and smokeless tobacco …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

School district amends tobacco policy to prohibit all vaping devices

Posted

Vaping is not allowed in Powell schools, and an amended policy makes that even clearer.

For years, Park County School District No. 1 has banned electronic cigarettes, tobacco and smokeless tobacco on school grounds and vehicles as part of its Tobacco-Free Schools policy.

The school board voted unanimously last week to amend the policy and add vape pens to the list of prohibited tobacco products. The amended policy also includes “other electronic cigarettes.”

As the district considered revisions to its tobacco policy in recent weeks, two employees were concerned that the term “electronic cigarettes” didn’t fully address vape pens, since the devices can be used for substances that don’t contain tobacco, Superintendent Jay Curtis told the school board.

“Vaping, as you all well know, has become quite the epidemic among youth,” Curtis said.

He cited articles that say twice as many students are vaping today as one year ago.

“That continues to rise,” he said. “There is no decline.”

Trustee Lillian Brazelton noted that Wyoming and many other states have seen a rise in vaping-related lung illnesses.

“It’s kind of scary,” she said of the health issues.

When he talks about vaping with students, Curtis said he explains that it took years and years to see the negative side effects of smoking when it first became popular.

“With vaping, within a few years, we’re starting to see these health crises,” he said. “So, this whole ‘safe alternative to smoking’ is lunacy. It’s dangerous.”

During last month’s discussion, board chairman Greg Borcher said he wondered “if we could get any of our lawmakers to take a bill to raise the age of legalization to 21 like some states are doing.”

The idea is already being seriously considered: The Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee voted 10-3 last month to draft a bill that would bar anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing cigarettes, chew or vaping materials.

In response to the rising popularity of vaping, the bill would change the focus of the state’s laws from “tobacco products” to “nicotine products” — a broader category that would include more types of electronic cigarettes and vapor material. Other changes would raise the penalties for selling or delivering nicotine products to underage youth.

There was a relatively narrow split among the committee members on the idea of requiring youth to be at least 21 to purchase smoking or vaping materials.

State Rep. Dan Laursen, a Powell Republican who sits on the committee, voted aye on the overall bill, but said in a recent interview that he was not excited about raising the smoking/chewing/vaping age.

“I was more thinking 18 might be all right,” Laursen said.

If the committee votes to sponsor the bill at its November meeting, it would then go to the full Legislature for consideration in the 2020 Budget Session.

(CJ Baker contributed reporting to this article.)

Comments