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School board tackles vaping and e-cigarette issue

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The Near North District School Board is taking up the fight to curb student vaping and indulging in e-cigarettes.  Right now both practices are prohibited on school property but the board wants to raise more awareness about this issue.  Trustee Michelina Beam will raise the issue with the Ontario Public School Board Association at its next meeting.  There’s a suggestion that after bean’s presentation, OPBSA would lobby the government to prohibit vaping and e-cigarettes among students.  Local staff are also working on a document for trustees’ consideration.  Dave Thompson, board chairman, says there are also suggestions to lobby the MPP, MP, North Bay City Hall and the North Bay-Parry Sound District Health Unit about restricting vaping and e-cigarettes.  The ground movement follows a presentation to trustees and staff by Donna Breault, the principal at Almaguin High school.  Breault told the board that e-cigarette use is highest among Grade 9 students and adds “there’s a perception it’s not dangerous because there’s no nicotine”.  Breault also says it’s tough getting parents on board with the issue “because they’re grateful that the students aren’t smoking cigarettes”.  However in her presentation, Breault said it’s not known which manufacturers include nicotine in e-cigarettes and which ones don’t.  Another practice Breault told trustees is that some students crush up drugs and put the drugs in their vaping unit.

Trustees also heard from their student trustee, Ty Meighen, a Grade 11 West Ferris student.  Meighen says it’s not uncommon to see students vaping in school washrooms and he adds they do it because they don’t associate any health risks with it.  Breault says because both practices are still relatively new, we don’t understand the health risks.  Breault believes what may be needed is an education campaign for parents and students to show vaping and e-cigarettes can be harmful.  Trustees were surprised about the widespread use of both products and readily admitted they didn’t know there could be health risks associated with them.

 

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