Frequently Asked Questions and How To Respond

Why does the policy have to cover all school property, not just indoors?

Allowing tobacco or vape use on any school property reinforces and normalizes use of these products.

Secondhand smoke, even outdoors, can be dangerous for people (especially youth) with other health problems such as asthma and allergies.

Many vape products are easy to conceal, so banning any use or possession of tobacco and vape products is necessary to discourage students from using them in places like buses, classrooms or bathrooms.

Why include staff and visitors, and not just students?

Teachers, staff, and school visitors can be powerful role models for students. Seeing adults use tobacco and vape products can normalize use of these products for students.

Youth who don’t see the use of tobacco and vape products in their everyday environments are less likely to think the behavior is normal and acceptable, and they are less likely to start using these products.

Secondhand smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, with about 70 that are known to be harmful or cause cancer. There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure. The only way to fully protect youth from the dangers of secondhand smoke is through 100% smoke-free environments.

How are we going to get people to comply with this plan?

Communication is key. Most people will comply with this plan if they know it exists.

Consistently enforce the plan. When enforcement is consistent, people are much more likely to comply.

What about the argument that it’s legal for adults to use tobacco?

Schools have the authority to develop, adopt and implement policies that are in the best interest of the students and staff. A comprehensive tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free plan restricts tobacco and e-cigarette use on the school district property and at school-sponsored events only. Tobacco is a legal product for adults to purchase and use. Adult tobacco users have the option of going off district property to use tobacco. 

Why athletic events?

Tobacco use has been historically promoted by the tobacco industry through sporting events such as baseball, rodeo, and football. Refraining from tobacco and e-cigarette use at school athletic events supports a healthy environment for everyone and helps de-normalize tobacco and e-cigarette use.

Why does the plan suggest schools provide referrals to cessation resources?

Many cessation resources, service that help people quit smoking, are available over the phone or online. Providing the websites and phone numbers to these resources is a simple way for schools to demonstrate their commitment to the health of all students, staff, and visitors.

Why does the plan prohibit electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) regardless of what they contain?

E-cigarette possession and use is against school policy, regardless of whether the liquid used in the device contains nicotine.

Many e-cigarette liquids contain nicotine, which causes addiction, may harm brain development, and could lead to the use of other tobacco products among youth. 

E-cigarette use models nicotine and tobacco use for youth, regardless of the liquid used.

Because many different liquids can be used in an e-cigarette, school staff cannot definitively determine whether an e-cigarette contains nicotine or other chemicals.

E-cigarette aerosol is not water vapor. In addition to nicotine, e-cigarette aerosol can contain heavy metals, ultrafine particulates that can be inhaled deep into the lungs, and toxins known to cause cancer.