State Board of Education approves vaping policy recommendations

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Kansas State Board of Education said vaping should be banned at all schools and events.

The board voted unanimously Tuesday to treat e-cigarettes like any other tobacco product in Kansas schools.

Schools in Kansas will be encouraged to change policies to make theirs like the state policy.

Schools could lose their accreditation if they don’t ban vaping on school property, which could lead to a loss in funding for the district.

“We’re often asked why are you so focused on vaping, and why are you not focused on just smoking cessation,” said Ali Seeling, a nurse and member of the state vaping task force.

“We’ve been focused on that for years, but we’ve never seen numbers like this before,” she said.

The recommendation creates a uniform policy that all schools can look to.

“Many of the schools have fairly robust tobacco-free school grounds policies, but very few of them included vaping devices,” said Mark Thompson, task force leader and education program consultant for the Kansas State Department of Education.

The new recommendations ban the possession of e-cigarettes by all students and staff and bans vaping for all visitors on school property or at school events.

“We’ll do everything we can do to set the standard from the state level,” said Seeling. “And that will trickle down into our local communities so that everyone knows how serious we are about the detriments of vaping.”

Next, the board of education will discuss what the best ways for schools to punish students caught vaping are and figure out the best ways to help them quit altogether.

Supporters of the plan are also hoping lawmakers raise the age to buy all tobacco products to 21 in Kansas.

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