Students reminded that electronic cigarettes are not permitted
By Emily Aamodt, Current Staff
Technology has brought a long list of new things that have to be regulated by the office, but only one of them is illegal.
On March 7, students’ eyebrows lifted at a strange announcement from school administration that addressed the increased usage of e-cigarettes in school hallways, classrooms, and buses. Students were reminded that e-cigarettes are treated by the office and the police as a tobacco product.
“They’ve become a little more prevalent on school grounds and we knew that a lot of students were unaware that they were illegal,” said Adam Kurth, an administrator at West Bend High Schools.
E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that simulate smoking. Most e-cigarettes release a vapor, creating the illusion of smoke. The vapor comes from water or a water-like solution, often mixed with nicotine or an assorted flavor. Although cigarettes constitute a higher health risk, both products risk nicotine addiction. Most e-cigarettes are used to break the habit of smoking and slowly wean the person off of nicotine.
According to Kurth, students ranging from freshmen to seniors have been caught using this “imitation drug.”
Students try to defend themselves by saying that the smoke is only a vapor, but Kurth said, “They can be used without nicotine, but because they are a product, a tobacco product, they’re considered illegal.”
Resistance from students is less common now that the e-cigarettes are clearly labeled as illegal. “E-cigarettes,” said Kurth, “are a minor problem within the school and is just a trend.”
Some students were unaware of them being used in classrooms and bathrooms. “Inside school smoking bothers me. I personally think it’s disrespectful,” said Maddie Gruenke, an East freshman.
Punishment for being caught with an e-cigarette begins with it being confiscated and thrown away if not picked up by a parent. Citations, ranging from $124 to $155, can be given out by the school police officer. Additional school punishments, like expulsion, may follow.
Since the announcement, the rate of e-cigarette sightings have decreased, according to school administration.