Smoking and vaping related suspensions double in Central Okanagan public schools - InfoNews

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Smoking and vaping related suspensions double in Central Okanagan public schools

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April 10, 2020 - 2:30 PM

The number of suspensions for smoking and vaping in Central Okanagan Public Schools has doubled in the last few years.

During the 2018-2019 school year, 189 indefinite suspensions were recorded for smoking and vaping, according to documents presented during Wednesday night’s public school board meeting. The previous year had 92 suspensions.

The number of suspensions has steadily increased over the last six years. In 2013-2014, only 17 indefinite smoking suspensions were recorded.

It’s been an ongoing problem in the school district for the last few years, said Moyra Baxter, school board chair.

“The actual smoking of cigarettes is down,” she said. “It’s vaping that has been the huge issue.”

READ MORE: Central Okanagan school officials taking vape concerns off campus

“Vaping a few years ago wasn’t on our list, and we’re hoping it’s falling off but we did go through that time where it seemed like an awful lot of students were trying it. We’re hoping it’s being done less than it was, but we’ll know more next year.”

And now the students aren’t in school, the district isn't sure what students are doing at the moment, she said. 

Vaping marijuana would also fall under the smoking/vaping category in the report, she said.

The  school district will continue to try and get the message out about vaping and its impact on student health, Baxter said.

The issue is not unique to the Central Okanagan. Five years ago, the Vernon School District disciplined one pupil for vaping. Last year that number climbed above 200. 

The number of teens smoking e-cigarettes has spiked across North America. Canadian provinces have already planned to place restrictions on e-cigarettes.

READ MORE: Ottawa moves to restrict vaping advertisements to prevent youth exposure

In B.C., regulators made moves in November, 2019 to restrict e-cigarette flavours, cut the amount of nicotine found in e-cigarettes, increase taxes on products and develop anti-vaping campaigns.

READ MORE: B.C. government moves to tax and restrict vaping products to protect youth

In America, in February the FDA cracked down on flavoured electronic cigarettes, in order to curb underage vaping. 

- With files from The Canadian Press

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