LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — On Thursday, members of the Fayette County Board of Education voted to sue the manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices and products, according to a press release.
"Fayette County Public Schools is recognized as a leader on issues of health, safety and wellness, not only in the commonwealth, but also across the nation,” said Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk. “It is wholly appropriate that we continue to lead in this space.”
The news release cited the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual National Youth Tobacco Survey, saying that there has been an increase in teens using vaping products in the United States. The study says 27.5% of teenagers reported using an e-cigarette in the previous 30 days, up from 20.8% in 2018.
Fayette County Public Schools added full-time nurses and mental health professionals as recommendations from Fayette County Public Schools District Safety Advisory Council to curb risky behaviors in students.
The school said that they will confiscate contraband if a student is caught vaping and offer smoking cessation programs. Those caught multiple times, or caught trafficking, may be suspended.
Although the district does not keep data separately for e-cigarettes, officials said disciplinary incidents involving all tobacco rose by 310% from 2015 to 2018:
- 2015-16: 98 events with 11 resulting in out-of-school suspension.
- 2016-17: 121 events with 6 resulting in out-of-school suspension.
- 2017-18: 225 events with 32 resulting in out-of-school suspension.
- 2018-19 402 events with 50 resulting in out-of-school suspension.
- 2019-20: 116 events with 6 resulting in out-of-school suspension to date during the 2019-20 school year.
“The targeting of school children by these companies, both with their products and marketing campaigns, has led to an unprecedented rise in nicotine addiction among our young people,” said Caulk. “As a champion for children, I was compelled to ask our school board to take this extraordinary step of filing a lawsuit to stop the insidious marketing practices of these companies and demand resources to fight this epidemic.”
You can read the vaping resolution approved by the Fayette County Board of Education here.