e-Cigarette, vape crackdown ordered at Southwest Suburban high school
Southwest suburban high school cracks down on students using e-cigarettes and vapes, warning it is a health hazard to students and also a local municipal crime.
By Ray Hanania
The principal of one of the Southwest Suburb’s largest high schools announced Friday that disciplinary action will be taken against any students caught smoking e-cigarettes or vapes, including notifying Orland Park Police.
The use of e-Cigarettes and vapes by under-aged children and students is illegal, under village ordinance.
One of the biggest problems with the e-cigarettes and vapes is that some students smoke them on school buses. It’s not uncommon to see the large blasts of smoke coming out of the yellow school bus windows.
While cigarettes are also prohibited, the smoke released is not as thick as smoke that comes from e-Cigarettes and vapes.
The cloud of smoke is so obvious and common in vehicles.
Many parents are unaware of their children smoking cigarettes, e-cigarettes or vapes and may not recognize what e-cigarettes and vapes look like.
The problem of student usage of e-cigarettes and vapes is not just restricted to Sandburg High school, which is one of three high schools in District 230 which generally covers the area from 87th Street on the North to 183rd Street on the south, Will/Cook Road on the West and Harlem Avenue on the east. Between 151st and 163rd Street, the eastern boundary extends to Ridgeland Avenue. The other two high schools are Andrew High school in Tinley Park and Stagg High school in Palos Heights.
In her cautionary email that Sandburg Principal Deborah Baker released on Friday afternoon after the close of the school day, she also included a photo of common e-cigarette and vape products.
Here is Principal Baker’s email:
Dear Sandburg Families,
I take this opportunity to provide you with information regarding an emerging national health trend. Over the last year, according to a Surgeon General Report, there has been an increased number of teens and adolescents using e-cigarettes and vaping nationwide.
The Surgeon General Report from 2017 lists the following concerns about e-cigarettes and vaping:
- E-cigarettes are considered tobacco products because most of them contain nicotine, which comes from tobacco.
- Besides nicotine, e-cigarettes can contain other harmful ingredients.
- Nicotine exposure during adolescence and young adulthood can cause addiction and harm the developing brain.
- No matter how it is delivered, nicotine is harmful for youth and young adults and puts their respiratory systems at risk.
- The use of e-cigarettes among high school students grew 900% between 2011 and 2015. In 2015, 1 in 6 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the last month.
- The use of e-cigarettes is higher among high school students than adults.
In addition to the delivery of flavored nicotine, vapes and e-cigarettes can be used to smoke hash oil or wax extracted from marijuana plants. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports smoking or vaping marijuana (also called dabbing) can deliver dangerous amounts of the active chemical compounds of cannabis (THC) to users, and has led some people to seek treatment in the emergency room. Detection of THC when vaping can be difficult as there is little to no odor associated with it.
Smoking e-cigarettes or vaping in school or on campus will not be tolerated. Students doing so will be referred to the Deans’ Office for consequences and parents will be immediately informed. Additionally, the Orland Police Department will be informed of a violation of Village Ordinance 2989-7-15-8 (possession of electronic smoking devices by a minor prohibited) and the student may be issued consequences from the Village of Orland Park. Furthermore, smoking violates the Honor Code of Conduct that is signed by students participating in co-curriculars and athletics.
Sandburg High School remains committed to the health and safety of all students. I include in this letter images of vaping products to help your understanding and awareness of the similarity between these devices and common tools like pens and flash drives. If you are concerned about your child using e-cigarettes or vaping, please contact your student’s Guidance Counselor, a Dean, or our Student Assistance Coordinator, Mrs. Jessica Kaffel (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible for additional support.
Thank you for your attention and support.
Carl Sandburg High School
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Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
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