School board nearing nicotine ban

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, November 6, 2013
The West Liberty school board is in the middle of expanding school code to include the banning of nicotine and all nicotine look-alike products in addition to tobacco products on school campuses.

The change to the Tobacco-Free Environment code comes after a recommendation from the Iowa Association of School Boards.

The IASB is encouraging school districts across Iowa to ban nicotine products in addition to tobacco products.

"I think it makes sense when it comes to products such as this," said Superintendent Steve Hanson, "It seems incongruous to allow one and not the other."

The board did a first reading of changes to policy 905.2 during its meeting Oct. 21, after a third reading it will vote on making the changes permanent.

Specifically, the code will read "School district facilities and grounds, including school vehicles, are off-limits for tobacco or nicotine use, including the use of look-alikes where the original would include tobacco or nicotine."

In a note on the form regarding the change it says, "According to Iowa law, all school grounds are smoke free. Boards have the authority to expand the policy to make the school facilities and grounds tobacco or nicotine free as well."

Part of the reason for the change is electronic cigarettes, or E-cigs, which fall into both the "nicotine" and "look-alike" categories in the code. These relatively new devices imitate cigarettes, but often do not have tobacco.

However, they often posses nicotine and flavoring. Since they look like a cigarette and act like a cigarette, it can be hard for school faculty to distinguish what the person is actually smoking.

Accordingly, a student is able to smoke an E-cig on campus because it technically doesn't have tobacco.

But, banning nicotine products helps combat the confusion and helps keep campuses tobacco free since the change in code will get rid of a need to distinguish between normal cigarettes and E-cigs.

These changes don't just affect school buildings, but all school facilities including the football field and track. Breaking the code can result in serious consequences for students.
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