EDEN, N.Y. (WIVB) – Most districts treat electronic cigarettes like regular cigarettes, but Eden Central School District has an idea it believes will stop repeat offenders and help keep kids healthy.
When it comes to e-cigarettes, health experts are seeing a couple different types of uses – long-time smokers using them to attempt to quit cigarettes and teens who are now wading into nicotine use through e-cigs.
“The trend with young people using e-cigarettes is exponentially increasing,” said Dr. Andrew Hyland of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
That means schools are scrambling to keep their policies up-to-date. The Buffalo Public School District is rewording its code of conduct to include e-cigs as tobacco products. And Eden Central School District is taking it a step further.
The current policy in Eden treats electronic cigarettes like regular cigarettes. When kids have them, they get in trouble and have them confiscated. But there is a difference.
“There wasn’t a policy on what we would do with the e-cigarette. So parents were calling up and saying we want this $100 e-cigarette back,” said Eden School Board President Michael Byrnes.
Byrnes said the district wants to pass a policy to throw out e-cigs they confiscate, to create a financial consequence and cut down on repeat offenders.
“Now we’re saying well, this is the consequence for it. Your child brought it into school. We’re either destroying it or holding onto it. No one is getting them back,” he said.
Dr. Hyland, who studies tobacco use at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, says there is no upside to kids using e-cigs. He says they aren’t keeping teens away from smoking.
“One thing that we do know is most kids who use e-cigarettes are cigarette smokers as well,” Hyland said.
But e-cig use is easier for kids at school to conceal, which is another reason districts are trying to keep them out.
Currently in Buffalo, when e-cigs are confiscated they are later given back to a parent.
Eden’s School Board will vote on this idea at its August 6 meeting.