Desoto school district snuffs out use of e-cigs; others may foll - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Desoto school district snuffs out use of e-cigs; others may follow suit

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One North Texas school district recently changed a policy to specifically ban e-cigarettes, and others are about to do the same.

Fort Worth ISD will discuss the issue next week on a staff level. Next month, e-cigarettes will go before Fort Worth's school board.

For Desoto ISD, it's a done deal. There, the whole thing started at a football game when an officer saw someone with an e-cigarette and made a suggestion to the district that, at some point, they would need to address it.

Some use them for the flavor, some say they're better than tobacco and others use e-cigarettes as a way to stop smoking regular cigarettes.

However, the vapor devices will be drifting into more and more school board agendas as districts work to keep them off their campuses.

"Regardless of how you look at it, it's still nicotine; it's still addictive," said Desoto ISD Superintendent David Harris.  

Desoto became the latest school district to rewrite their policy to address e-cigarettes. Monday, the school board approved the following policy: "The district prohibits the use of electronic cigarettes or any other electronic vaporizing device on district property at all times."

"We know that, typically, smoking cigarettes leads to something else, and that leads to something else, and so we do feel like it's our responsibility as educators to get them in the habit of doing the right thing so they don't go down that dangerous road," said Harris.

The battery-operated cigarettes, or vapor pens, don't use tobacco, don't have harmful tar, and leave a vapor that smells similar to incense.

They can be used with or without nicotine, and most shops won't sell them to anyone under 18.

Michael McKnight uses an e-cigarette. The school policy, he says, makes sense.

"I'm OK with it because I shouldn't impede on their space and if they don't enjoy smoking or they don't like it, then I have to respect that, so I think that's understandable," said McKnight.

But not everyone agrees.

"There's really no need to try to restrict ‘em," said e-cigarette user Diana Wanz. "All it is is water vapor. It doesn't have any chemicals that a normal cigarette does that causes any kind of reactions from people that might be allergic to smoke."

Fort Worth ISD will be discussing the issue because of a recommendation from the Texas Association of School Boards. The association is encouraging districts to, at the very least, address the issue.

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