News of the Weird: NJ school district classifies e-cigs as “drug paraphernalia’
Officials from the school district of Bernards Township in New Jersey are considering a massive crackdown on e-cigs by labeling them as drug paraphernalia. On November 15, parents were invited to a public meeting at William Annin Middle School to discuss the health risks of vaping. Also in attendance were members of law enforcement and the Superintendent of public schools, Mick Markarian.
The meeting was preceded by a letter written by Markarian and sent to parents, perhaps in an effort to attract a larger crowd. Despite current data supplied by federal agencies indicating that tobacco use and vaping among teenagers nationwide is on the decline, the school district of Bernards Township seems to be taking the direct opposite stance. In fact, they seem to be relegating electronic nicotine delivery systems to the same category as roach clips, rolling papers, ceramic pipes, bongs, and other forms of drug paraphernalia. The letter sent to parents contains the following statement.
"In addition to education efforts, we are also seeking to adjust board policies to make it more clear that vaping devices are being handled as drug paraphernalia. Students who are found to be in possession of vaping devices will experience drug screening, counseling and discipline."
In the November 15 meeting, Markarian preceded to tell attending parents that vaping is “not safe” even though several studies have already indicated that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking. While most vapers would agree that a stronger emphasis on vaping education is indeed warranted, this form of anti-vaping propaganda may not be what many had in mind. And while most respectable vapers would never promote vaping to children, the idea of using public funds to label e-cigs as “not safe” seems somewhat intentionally misleading.
And despite the massive amounts of pro-vaping research like the 2015 report from Public Heath England and endorsed by the UK Royal College of Physicians which states that vaping is 95 percent less harmful than smoking, school officials in Bernards are still playing dumb. When the My Central New Jersey publication interviewed Kaitlin Cartoccio, a health teacher in the district, no less, she made the following claim.
"They haven't been around as long as obviously cigarettes or cigars or other combustible smoking devices. And that's probably the most important thing: that they haven't been around and not a lot of research has been done on the long-term effects of e-cigarettes."
So, if Cartoccio and others like her are to be believed, then it’s rather pointless to conduct any scientific research at all at the moment. People like Cartoccio seem to want to wait another twenty or thirty years before they will believe the cold, hard facts. In the meantime, the death tolls from smoking-related illnesses will continue to escalate, but “educators” like Cartoccio will somehow manage to find someone else to blame other than themselves.