The Impact of E-Cigarettes on Our Schools
In the past several months, great steps have been made to lessen the impact that e-cigarettes have on middle and high schools nationwide. However, this in no way means the tobacco industry has been contained. In fact, the CDC estimates that in 2020, 19.6% of high school students (3.02 million) and 4.7% of middle school students (550,000) reported current e-cigarette use in the United States. This is an issue that has persisted for too long.
According to the Surgeon General, nicotine use during the teen years poses threats to students’ developing brains, impacting learning, memory, and attention spans as well as increasing the risk for future addiction to other drugs. Even scarier, e-cigs can be altered to contain other substances, including marijuana and other dangerous and illegal drugs. As with nicotine, e-cigs can contain much purer, more potent doses of the active ingredient (THC) in marijuana than a typical marijuana cigarette. A student purchasing an e-cig, or sharing an e-cig with a friend, may have no way of knowing that the device is laced with potentially dangerous drugs.
Rio Rancho Public Schools does not take the use of e-cigarettes lightly. The Discipline Matrix will be followed for students who are in possession of or using e-cigs, including 1 to 10 days of out-of-school suspension depending on the level of infraction and number of offenses.
The internet has great resources to help parents learn how to talk to their children about e-cigs and to learn more about them themselves. One such resource is the U.S. Surgeon General’s e-cig Web portal, https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov.