The Sewanhaka Central High School District recently amended its student code of conduct to include the ban of e-cigarettes at its five high schools. School officials say measures were taken to address the issue.
“Some of the principals expressed a discomfort with attempting to discipline students when there was nothing in the code of conduct which would prohibit the possession of an e-cigs, rolling papers or things of that sort,” said Sewanhaka School Board President David Fowler. “The e-cigarette particular is something that has been brought up.” According to Fowler, student suspensions have been challenged during the school year, with children arguing certain items are not illegal paraphernalia.
The district’s amended code of conduct states students would be subject to disciplinary action if caught “smoking a cigarette, cigar, pipe, e-cigarette, vaporizer pipes/pens, and/or hookah pipes/pens.” The code also includes bans on “using chewing or smokeless tobacco.”
“The [revised] code does deal with those issues,” Fowler said.
One listing in the code bans “possession of drug paraphernalia.” The district added, “and/or smoking paraphernalia, including but not limited to, e-cigarettes, vaporizers, hookah pipes, bongs, grinders, snorters, rolling papers, scales, cigarette lighters, glassine bags or bags used for packaging and/or distribution of drugs.”
Sewanhaka joins a trend that’s sweeping Long Island in e-cigarette banning. Lynbrook, Island Trees, Middle County, Central Islip, and Jericho school districts recently put a stop on e-cigarettes. Experts fear students are being pushed towards more dangerous, life-threatening behavior with e-cigarette use.
According to lead researcher Dr. Lauren Dutra, from the University of California-San Francisco, “E-cigarettes are likely to be gateway devices for nicotine addiction among youth.”
Dutra argues that manufacturers of the electronic cigarette have included alluring flavors, such as bubble gum, cherry, or coffee, which appeal to the youth community. The study also showed that since e-cigarettes contain the same addicting properties as tobacco, it didn’t take long for teens to develop a nicotine dependency and move on to the traditional cigarette.
Another study by the national Center for Disease Control (CDC) showed the number of calls to poison control centers involving e-cigarette liquids rose from one per month in Sept. 2010, up to 215 calls per month in Feb. 2014. According to the CDC, poisoning from e-cigarettes can occur either through ingestion, inhalation or absorption through the skin or eyes.
“Use of these products is skyrocketing and these poisonings will continue,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “E-cigarette liquids, as currently sold are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof, and they come in candy and fruit flavors that are appealing to children.”