TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The Kansas State Board of Education is considering a ban on all vaping and e-cigarettes on school property. This would include not only students but staff and visitors to the school as well.
Additional recommendations include banning students from having any vaping or e-cigarette products on school property at all and prohibiting students from promoting vaping. This could include wearing t-shirts or having a sign that promotes vaping or a certain brand. These rules would not apply to visitors.
This comes as new statistics are released from the 2019 Kansas Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which polled a random sample of Kansas students in grades 9-12. All figures are compared to the previous sample done in 2017.
There has been a 271% increase in the number of high school students who use some form of vaping product daily for at least 30 days. There is also an increase in the number of students who try vaping or e-cigarettes.
“My choice would be what everybody’s choice is, that they not start [vaping],” said Mark Thompson, Education Program Consultant, KSDE.
Thompson continues that students must be taught the facts and not the messages they hear from vaping and e-cigarette companies.
“We have to counter that message with education, with facts that let them know that this is something that they really can’t just play around with. It’s dangerous,” said Thompson.
For one superintendent, the change in rules would help staff manage visitors smoking in or near the building during school events.
“It makes it easier for the school administration to say, ‘I understand this is not fun for me to send you out to the street to have that cigarette or hit that vape, but the powers that says you can’t do this here,'” said Derek Reinhardt, Ness City Schools Superintendent. “It helps protect those guys…especially the building administrators.”
The board was just hearing policy recommendations Tuesday. They will make a decision at their meeting next month.