School Tightens Rules on Electronic Cigarettes

By Sabrina Stemm

Branford High School’s administration has set in place new, stricter guidelines in regards to the use of Electronic Cigarettes, a popular new device that allows users to smoke without using tobacco.

Possession of an electronic cigarette is equal to the possession of any other tobacco product according to BHS’s revised tobacco policy.The consequences a student receives depend upon the number of offenses. Here are the new regulations:

  • 1st Offense – Confiscation of tobacco products and paraphernalia/e-cigarette returned to parent.
  • 2nd Offense- Five hours school service assigned/confiscation of cigarette/product(s), parent meeting (e-cigarette will be returned only to parent)
  • 3rd Offense- One day in ISS/confiscation of cigarette/product(s), parent meeting (e-cigarette will be returned only to parent at end of school year).

What are electronic cigarettes?

 

Electronic cigarette devices like this are now illegal at BHS under the school's revised tobacco policy. Photo credit: Kathryn Cooke.
Electronic cigarette devices like this are now illegal at BHS under the school’s revised tobacco policy. Photo credit: Kathryn Cooke.

Electronic Cigarettes have various designs all the way from plastic replicas of traditional cigarettes to large multi colored devices with visible oil tanks; in which the e-liquid is contained.

E-cigarettes can either be disposable or pricier versions with rechargeable lithium batteries. According to ABC News the e-cigarettes “are filled with an e-liquid that typically contains the chemical propylene glycol along with nicotine, flavoring and other additives.” Dr. David B. Abrams from  the American Legacy Foundation is concerned that flavors such as watermelon have been added to these devices to lure adolescence into their use. While e-cigarettes have often helped many people quit smoking traditional cigarettes, health experts are worried that the use of the e-cigarettes will encourage the use of other tobacco products.

Middle schools and high schools across America are struggling with the issue of how to discipline students who “vape” in school. BHS Principal Lee Panagoulias recently sent school staff an email that includes a link to an article on the subject of marijuana users converting marijuana into cannabis liquid that can be “vaped” through e-cigarettes.

This issue runs alongside the fact that there is not a way for an observer to know what is contained in the oil tank of e-cigarettes. It is also up to the user to decide what level of nicotine they want, if any. Branford High, like many schools, has decided to treat the use of e-cigarettes as equivalent to the use of other tobacco products regardless of the obvious differences. Some of the differences being the lack of smoke, lack of a fire hazard and no trash being left behind such as ash or filters.

BHS student Erin Norden said “I think electric cigarettes are the beginning to a safer and healthier future. It is a much better choice than real cigarettes.”

According to ABC news, “the FDA report found nine contaminates versus the 11,000 contained in a tobacco cigarette and noted that the level of toxicity was shown to be far lower than those of tobacco cigarettes.”

An argument that is commonly used is that e-cigarettes are a good option for someone looking to quit smoking. Lowell Dale, M.D. from  Mayo Clinic disagrees. Dale said “Until more is known about the potential risks, the safe play is to say no to electronic cigarettes. If you’re looking for help to stop smoking, there are many FDA-approved medications that have been shown to be safe and effective for this purpose.”

BHS student Julia Palm said “I think electric cigarettes are relatively new and it’s too soon to know the side effects.”

What do you think of the new regulations on e-cigarettes? Let us know in the comments or @Branfordbuzz on Twitter.