New e-cigarette policy for Utah schools

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The Utah State Board approved a policy for teachers and administrators to confiscate e-cigarette devices. Schools have seen a dramatic increase in vaping throughout the state, but this new policy is hoping to change that.

“It’s terrible,” said Representative Susan Pulsipher (R, District 50) when asked how youth are affected by vaping throughout Utah. “The incidents of vaping in the last few years continues to climb steadily and sharply in our schools.”

The vaping market appeals to young people because of the different flavors. Alpine School District’s Public Relations Administrator David Stephenson noted, “It’s marketed at the youth.”

Utah State Board’s new policy will allow administrators to confiscate e-cigarette devices found in possession of students on school campuses. It also clarifies what administrators can do with the devices when they have been confiscated.

“They can confiscate the devices and destroy them,” said Pulsipher. Administrators can also turn the devices over to the police if the devices have any kind of illegal substance. 

E-cigarette devices are becoming easier to hide because the devices are small and not easily recognized. “Sometimes kids vape in class,” said Pulsipher. She also noted that kids will smoke into their jackets to hide the devices. “The devices look like USB ports or other things that are common.”

David Stephenson asks that parents join in the fight to prevent drug use in their children. “As parents learn about this and help their children realize that it’s just like tobacco or alcohol, they can understand that it’s a harmful substance,” said Stephenson.

Utah State legislature is also hoping to be a part of this change. According to the board meeting agenda, legislature is hoping to enact “prevention programs…that create positive behavior plans for students.” 

“In the bill going forward, there will be a section that will increase teaching about it in schools,” informed Pulsipher.

Administrators from all over the state are hoping that they can keep their students healthy. 

“It’s just something we need our students to steer clear of,” said Stephenson.

The education interim committee will present the legislation on November 20th during the state session.

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