Electronic-cigarettes will join regular cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in being banned for use on school property in School District 27.
“Adding electronic cigarettes to the smoking ban on all school properties had been recommended by the Interior Health medical health officers due to the unknown effects and lack of regulations for e-cigarettes,” says Superintendent Mark Thiessen.
He says the recommended change was reviewed by the board’s business committee and posed as a question on the district’s website for public input.
No public input was received by the Nov. 20 deadline and the board made the decision to ban the electronic-cigarettes during the regular board meeting Nov. 25.
In reviewing the issue Thiessen said the secondary school principals had noticed that an increasing number of students were beginning to use e-cigarettes.
“While efforts were being made by individual school principals to ban the use of e-cigarettes in their schools, they were appreciative of policy changes made by the board to make these expectations consistent across the district,” Thiessen says.
According to a May report from Interior Health there has been a recent surge in the popularity of electronic cigarettes, particularly among youth.
The report says that in 2009 Health Canada advised Canadians not to use e-cigarettes and Interior Health’s medical health officers are recommending that all school districts prohibit e-cigarettes and that municipalities include e-cigarettes in their smoke-free bylaws.
Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigs, e-pipes, e-cigars, e-hookah and hookah pens, typically have three components, the report explains.
The cartridge may contain propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, flavourings, additives, water, nicotine and additional toxic compounds.
The atomizer heats the liquid and creates vapour. The battery powers the atomizer and indicator light.
The report also states e-cigarettes containing nicotine are illegal for sale in Canada, however, they are readily available.
Most look like conventional cigarettes/cigarillos and are popular because they deliver a nicotine dose similar to cigarettes, are less expensive than cigarettes, are being aggressively marketed by big tobacco and their use is currently unrestricted.
There are safety concerns for users and others exposed to e-cigarette vapour (including during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and quest).
There is also little evidence related to their effectiveness as an aid to quitting smoking, the report maintains.