Utah legislature considers stronger vaping rules for schools

Nov 20, 2019, 12:58 PM
Illinois schools vaping death vaping-related lung injury...
In this Tuesday, April 10, 2018 photo, Marshfield High School Principal Robert Keuther displays vaping devices that were confiscated from students in such places as restrooms or hallways at the school in Marshfield, Mass. Utah school officials say there are no clear rules allowing them to confiscate e-cigarettes from students, currently. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
(AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — A new bill before Utah lawmakers would give schools more power to tackle vaping.

School officials spoke in favor of the bill, which would give the schools the ability to confiscate e-cigarettes and other devices, at a committee hearing Wednesday on Utah’s Capitol Hill.

“We have just seen a huge number of students using e-cigarettes and vapes in our schools. We work with four police departments, and there is a lot of confusion over what to do with confiscated items, so that clarifies that for us,” BJ Weller, Director of Responsive Services for the Canyons School District, said.

Schools say current vaping rules aren’t clear

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Susan Pulsipher, R-South Jordan, said vaping has become a major headache for schools. And because the law is unclear on the developing technology, school leaders have often been confused about what to do next. For example, are they obligated to return them to students under the same rules that would require them to return a confiscated cell phone or other electronic devices?

School surveys showed nearly 10 percent of Utah students between the grades of six and 12 reported vaping in the last month. That works out to about 30,000 children in the state.

“We know from the SHARP survey data, it’s more than 30,000 students in our state. A lot of students. And it’s increasing,” Pulsipher said. “Some schools have boxes of these devices that they’re not sure what to do with.”

“The vaping issue is a huge deal,” Pulsipher said.

Early intervention and education

The bill also addresses intervention and prevention measures for vaping. It calls for education starting as early as elementary school.

“If there ever was a state that could send a very powerful message about what is right and what is wrong here, it’s the state of Utah,” said Terry Shoemaker, executive director of the Utah School Superintendents Association.

Parents like Todd Hougaard with the Utah PTA say their kids can’t even go to the bathroom at school without lots of students in there vaping.

“There’s a meme going around that says, ‘What are these toilets doing in the vaping room?'” he told the Education Interim Committee.

The full Utah House of Representatives plans to take up the legislation in 2020. If approved there, it would then move on to the state Senate for approval, then to the governor for a signature.

Utah health officials say the state is dealing with more than 100 cases of vaping-related lung injury, higher than the national rate.

Today’s Top Stories


USU Aviation The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) created a series of r...
Michele Rowe

Flight instructor, student, die in crash of USU Aviation plane

Officials said a teacher and student affiliated with USU aviation were killed in a plane crash near Wellsville.
5 days ago
USU Aviation The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) created a series of r...
Waverly Golden

Utah State University reports on Latina women’s status in Utah

The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project researched disparities between Latina Women and all women in Utah.
13 days ago
Utah Valley University March 23, 2020.  (Gabriel Mayberry/ UVU Marketing)...
Martha Harris

Utah adults struggling in their civics knowledge, a UVU study said

Utah adults get an almost failing grade in their civics knowledge, according to a study from Utah Valley University.
21 days ago
The Utah State Board of Education building. Utah schools give out a risk prevention survey every tw...
Aimee Cobabe

Utah State Board of Education drops support for risk prevention survey

Utah schools have given kids a health and risk prevention survey since 2003, but the State Board of Education recently pulled its support for the survey.
21 days ago
utah student achievement COVID-19...
Simone Seikaly

Utah student performance knocked down during COVID-19 restrictions

A review of multiple Utah student performance exams found "significant impacts" in mathematics achievement across grades.
27 days ago
A student was arrested after bringing a gun and ammunition to East High School....

East High students walkout in support of gun control, honor Texas shooting victims

Students at East High held a walkout Friday morning in support of more gun control and to honor the victims of the recent school shooting in Texas.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Utah legislature considers stronger vaping rules for schools