E-cigs and schools

May 8, 2014 By Steven R. Peck

The reasons for prohibition are straightforward and legitimate

A few days ago a national news report stated that "for public school districts with regulations against cigarettes, new electronic cigarettes pose a quandary."

They shouldn't. As Fremont County School District 25 in Riverton is demonstrating, establishing formal policy against the use of electronic cigarettes on school grounds can be done -- and ought to be.

It is an entirely appropriate action, albeit the sort that would have been unheard of just a few years ago. It reflects the unpredictability of our times, as well as the necessity for governing entities in the public trust to remain alert, flexible and responsive.

The "e-cigarette" is a strange technological development, but the kind of technological development that the creators and custodians of public policy find themselves confronting as the advance of technology continues relentlessly.

Odd as the e-cigarette is, however, is it really that much stranger than the traditional cigarette itself, in which dried, shredded, toasted, and chemical-laced tobacco leaves are encased in a paper cylinder before being set afire so the user can put the smoldering tube into his or hermouth and suck the smoke directly to the lungs?

If it has been a while since you have heard the great comedian Bob Newhart's bit about a person on the telephone explaining cigarettes to someone who's never heard of them, it is worth a fresh listen. Perhaps Mr. Newhart, who reads our newspaper, no doubt, might need to update that piece of comedy to include the specifications of electronic cigarettes as well.

A primary function of the e-cigarette is to introduce an addictive chemical into the body of the user. Whether the delivery mechanism is a burning cigarette or electronic version that creates vapor for the same purpose, it makes perfect sense to forbid its use in our public schools.

A quandary? Not at all. District 25, proceed.

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