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No Vaping on School Campus - Not Even Once

After four decades of national attention that successfully reduced the appeal and usage of combustible cigarettes, the introduction of the Juul electronic cigarette in 2015 began to reverse the efforts of progress and in 2017, 2.1 million middle and high school students were e-cigarette users making it the most frequently used tobacco product among adolescents.

“E-cigarettes have skyrocketed in popularity,” said Superintendent Dr. Donald Phipps. “Health officials are now calling it an epidemic, and we are asking parents and the community to help the school system educate our youth on the ill effects of using any tobacco product, especially e-cigarettes or Juuls. Since these small devices are harder to detect, yet pose serious health risks, we have put forth a new effort to inform the public that tobacco products are prohibited on school campuses – including e-cigarettes.”

These lightweight, techno lookalike devices easily facilitate vaping, the act of inhaling and exhaling an aerosol - often mistaken for water vapor, but these fine particles contain varying amounts of toxic chemicals.

Within the last couple of weeks, vaping has sent nearly 100 people, mostly teens and young adults, to the hospital with lung illnesses. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating 94 possible cases of severe lung illness associated with vaping, which have been reported in 14 states as of Aug 17. and linked to e-cigarette vaping.

Due to the possession of e-cigarettes, the health risks, and the North Carolina law that prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from purchasing any tobacco products, including Juuls, the Caldwell County School System has taken a stronger stance in enforcing the use of e-cigarettes beginning this school year. If students are caught vaping on campus or during a school-sponsored event or activity, the following disciplinary measures will be taken at Hibriten, South Caldwell or West Caldwell High School:

  1. 1st Offense 1 Day of Out-of-School Suspension (OSS)
  2. 2nd Offense 3 Days of OSS
  3. 3rd Offense 5 Days of OSS
  4. 4th Offense 7 Days of OSS

During each of these disciplinary actions, the e-cigarette or Juul will be confiscated, disposed of, and not returned to the student. On the second and subsequent offenses, students will be required to complete an educational program, which is an online tobacco prevention and cessation curriculum for middle and high school students.

Students in middle school grades or students attending the Caldwell Early College High School or the Caldwell Applied Sciences Academy will receive the following disciplinary measures for using e-cigarettes or Juuls on a school campus or during a school-sponsored event or activity:

  1. 1st Offense 1 Day of In-School-Suspension (ISS)
  2. 2nd Offense 1 Day of Out-of-School Suspension (OSS)
  3. 3rd Offense 3 Days of OSS
  4. 4th Offense 5 Days of OSS
  5. 5th Offense 7 Days of OSS

During any of these actions, the e-cigarette or Juul will be confiscated, disposed of, and not returned to the student. On the first and any subsequent offenses thereafter, students will be required to complete an educational program, which is an online tobacco prevention and cessation curriculum for middle and high school students.

Across the nation, schools are enforcing stricter policies with disciplinary consequences ranging from out-of-school suspension to required attendance in tobacco-free classes to excluding participation in sports, clubs or special events.

Top 10 Reasons Not to Vape:

  1. Teens who vape are seven times more likely to progress to smoking cigarettes. (Medical Journal Pediatrics)
  2. E-cigarettes contain high levels of nicotine. According to the Juul website, the nicotine content of one Juul pod is equivalent to one pack of cigarettes.
  3. The added pleasant, sweet flavors – caramel, cappuccino, watermelon, etc. - lead users to intensify inhalation and increase frequency.
  4. Severe lung illness is linked to vaping; at least 60 chemical compounds have been found in e-cigarettes besides nicotine.
  5. Because of these high nicotine levels, vaping is extremely addictive — and teens are already more susceptible to addiction than adults because their brains are still developing, which makes them more likely to habituate to using drugs and alcohol.
  6. E-cigarettes and similar devices contain carcinogenic compounds, and a recent study found significantly increased levels of carcinogens in the urine of teens who vape.
  7. Vaping causes lung irritation akin to that seen in smokers and people with lung disease and causes damage to vital immune system cells.
  8. Vaping increases heart rate and blood pressure, which can cause an increase in circulatory problems.
  9. Vaping devices have been known to explode.
  10. The Law strictly prohibits the purchase of tobacco products, tobacco-derived products, and vapor products by persons under the age of 18. 

“I encourage our parents to have open communication with their teens,” said Phipps. “The schools will provide educational strategies throughout the year to make students aware of the concerns that have surfaced over vaping. Prevention is a lot easier than treatment later on.”