Lawmakers discuss new ways to keep students from vaping, including potentially destroying devices

Sep 18, 2019, 5:45 PM | Updated: 6:06 pm
(Credit: Steven Senne, Associated Press)...
(Credit: Steven Senne, Associated Press)
(Credit: Steven Senne, Associated Press)

UTAH STATE CAPITOL – Kids might think it’s cool to vape at school, but, lawmakers don’t.  They’re brainstorming legislation that would make it so schools can destroy e-cigarettes and other vaping devices once they’re confiscated from students.

Members of the Education Interim Committee had lots of questions about why educators can’t destroy these devices already.  Representative Susan Pulsipher says state guidelines are not very clear about what schools are allowed to do with them.

“We had schools that would take these devices and put them in a box because they weren’t sure what to do with them.  There were also schools where parents would say, ‘This is mine.  This is my property, you have to give it back to me,’ and the kid brings it back the next day,” she says.

However, this could change if the machines are officially designated as “contraband.”

Pulsipher says, “What the hope is that because the device itself would be illegal to possess, [the schools] can take them and destroy them.”

This was one of many ideas being discussed during the committee meeting.  They expressed support for a bill that would add a tax on all e-cigarette products.  They also support education bills that would add vaping to the state’s drug prevention program, known as the Botvin curriculum.

Pulsipher also says, “One of the legislators is running a resolution to encourage local health departments to cap the number of vape shops in an area.”

The Utah Department of Health is also making a public awareness campaign to teach kids the dangers of vaping.  However, Pulsipher says this is something a lot of kids are realizing on their own.

“There are many students that are actually working inside of their schools to get good information to their classmates and reduce the ‘cool factor,’” she says.

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Lawmakers discuss new ways to keep students from vaping, including potentially destroying devices