Great Neck Public Schools update smoking policy to address e-cigarettes and vaping

Great Neck Public Schools update smoking policy to address e-cigarettes and vaping
Trustee Donna Peirez speaks to members of the public at a Monday night board meeting. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Great Neck school board trustees approved two amendments to school policy regarding e-cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes, on Monday, formally defining the term and branding it prohibited conduct.

Smoking has been prohibited on Great Neck school grounds for decades because it is considered “conduct that endangers the safety, morals, health or welfare of others,” according to school policy, but e-cigarettes had not been specifically prohibited prior to the amendment.

Trustee Donna Peirez, the chair of the school’s policy committee, described the amendment as one that brings school policy up to date and “include all of the newer forms of smoking paraphernalia.”

“Before, the e-cigarettes and the vaping were not included, so that would not have been part of the code of conduct,” Peirez said after the meeting.

Under the policy change electronic cigarettes, also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems, are defined as “electronic devices that deliver vapor that is inhaled by an individual user” and include items like e-pens, e-pipes, e-hookah, e-cigars, vaporizers, vapor pipes and vape pens.

The definition also includes “any refill, cartridge or other component used in such a device.”

The amendments came in response to new guidance from the New York State School Boards Association regarding amendments to state laws regarding the definition of electronic cigarettes and their prohibition on school grounds.

16 percent of high school students – or 2.39 million –nationwide reported using e-cigarettes within the past month, according to the 2015 National Youth Tobacco Survey. E-cigarette use among high school students also grew by 900 percent between 2011 and 2015, a 2016 report from the U.S. Surgeon General’s office suggests.

In unrelated business, Honeywell presented energy savings the district earned through their energy management contract, students honored school board members and policies were introduced regarding field trips and student health services.

The next public school board meeting will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at 8:30 p.m. at Saddle Rock Elementary School.

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