by: Catherine Lemel
It has been proven that cigarettes can cause serious health issues and cigarette use among teens have gone down. However, according to the CDC, the use of electronic cigarettes (also known as e- cigarettes) had doubled from 2011-2012. Recently, Transylvania County and the state of North Carolina took steps to protect students from the harmful effects of using e-cigarettes.
The Transylvania County Schools’ Board of Education has recently redrafted their tobacco policy to include e-cigarettes.This new revision will be enforced as if the offender was in possession of any other tobacco products. For students, this will result in the notification of the parents and then giving the student information about the dangers of tobacco. A student will only be suspended if they have already committed a first offence. For teachers, this includes a warning for the first offense, a citation for the second offence, and a possible suspension or dismissal for the third offence.
The details of the ban on e-cigarettes came from a letter from the State Superintendent. The letter states, “Since August 2008, G.S. § 15C-407 has require that every North Carolina school district have a written 100% tobacco free school policy that prohibits the use of all tobacco products on campus and at school-related events for students, staff and visitors at all times.”
The definition of ‘tobacco products’ includes everything that contains tobacco and everything that looks like a tobacco product. The e-cigarettes are included in this because, according to the letter, “This law defines e-cigarettes as ‘tobacco products’ and includes in the definition any product that contains tobacco and is intended and is intended for human consumption. E-cigarettes are vapor products that deliver nicotine, which is derived from tobacco.” Therefore, based on that definition alone, the e-cigarettes are banned.
The law also mentions that most schools, located in their No Tobacco products policy, have the phrase “reasonably resembling tobacco or tobacco products,” and e-cigarettes fit into that category because they mimic the appearance of a cigarette.