School Board Trustees from Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) Zone 4 are pushing for stronger vaping regulations.
Their motion, which “urges the federal and provincial governments to align restrictions on the consumption, promotion, marketing and sale of vaping products with those on tobacco products”, will go to the Fall General Meeting of ASBA where all of Alberta’s 61 school boards will vote on it.
“If it passes, ASBA can then take a provincial stand on this important issue,” says Connie Huelsman, ASBA Zone 4 Chair. “After years of real progress in creating a smoke-free generation, we are slipping back with the real risk of significant numbers of youth being addicted to nicotine and becoming smokers.”
In the past, tobacco users in schools represented a ‘fringe’ group of students. Educators are now seeing students from all grade levels and profiles vaping, including athletes, artists and academic students. Not only have our schools seen a significant increase in students using vaping products, it now ranks as the number one reason for student suspensions in some jurisdictions. Students are using vaping products outside, as well as in bathrooms, hallways and classrooms.
Also concerning are reports from health officials who believe there may be a link between vaping and an increase in teenage cigarette smoking for the first time in 30 years.
The highly addictive nature of these products, as well as with the cocktail of other dangerous and toxic chemicals within vaping products could have dangerous health consequences such as lung damage, cancer, and harm to brain development.
“Legislation is not keeping up with the new realities of vaping in our schools,” says Huelsman. “It’s time for action. It’s time our governments worked together to address this significant health issue facing our youth.”
Red Deer Public Schools brought the motion to the Zone, and Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools seconded it. All of the eight member boards voted in support of the motion.
-Submitted by ASBA Zone 4