As vaping worries grow, Monroe school board committee creating a policy

BY Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2, MonroeNow, Aug 30, 2019

MONROE – With growing concerns over vaping, a Monroe school board committee is developing a policy to address the problem with a focus on education.

Trustee Patricia Lang, Monroe Board of Education Policy Committee’s chairwoman, said that focusing on education and parents’ participation is important “because vaping is so dangerous and the best way for us to stop it is to have parents understand how dangerous this is and what’s happening.”

School districts across the country have been creating policies to address vaping on campus grounds.

The problems and concerns have become so widespread that e-cigarette marker giant Juul Labs’ CEO Kevin Burns recently said the company is creating an ID verification system to block cashiers from selling to underage shoppers and limit daily purchases.

Originating Monroe’s policy includes administrators at the middle and high schools and the student assistant counselor.

“I know I personally have been sharing lots of articles about the dangers of vaping and what they’re finding with lung diseases and how young people are overdosing on nicotine or unknown substances,” Lang said at the Aug. 21 school board meeting. “We really want to push education as a big part, instead of making it just punitive because punitive isn’t going to change anything.”

According to an NBC News report, there have been at least 289 hospitalizations as of Aug. 29 for severe lung disease attributed to vaping.

At least one person has died from vaping-related causes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent. That death was reported Aug. 23 in Illinois.

“Vaping exposes users to many different substances for which we have little information about related harms – including flavorings, nicotine, cannabinoids, and solvents,” Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of CDC, said in the Aug. 23 statement. “E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.”

The jump in the number of vaping-related health issues increased 50 percent from last week when the CDC released its latest report.