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Electronic cigarettes could join Hampton schools' prohibited tobacco list

| Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 9:05 p.m.

With new products on the market, the Hampton Township School Board is working on updating the district's tobacco-use policy.

On Oct. 14, the school board planned to vote on the first reading of a revised tobacco-use policy, which is being updated to include the prohibition of electronic cigarettes.

Superintendent John Hoover said with some studies showing the presence of toxins in the electronic-cigarette vapor, district officials wanted to add it to the list of items students are prohibited from possessing, consuming, displaying or selling in a school building or on district property.

While the school board members accepted the addition without exception, several school board members raised questions about a paragraph that also prohibited “imitation tobacco products,” which include candy cigarettes and shredded gum resembling chewing tobacco.

School board President David Gurwin asked how the policy would affect children who play baseball on district baseball fields or leased fields, where shredded gum use is popular.

“Our intent wasn't to control Pony League Games,” Hoover said. “The policy was updated because of electronic cigarettes.”

School board member Larry Vasko said he would not approve the revised policy with the inclusion of “imitation tobacco products” being defined as candy.

“You're going to make the news when you put some stupid laws in there like that,” he said.

Following the discussion, the school board members agreed to remove the prohibition of imitation tobacco products from the revised policy.

Hoover said even if the prohibition of candy cigarettes had remained in the policy, the district would continue to use common sense when enforcing its policies.

“If a kid brings in a toy ax, we're not going to suspend him for a year like other districts,” Hoover said. “We use common sense here.”

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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