RAMSEY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A vaping crackdown is now in effect at New Jersey schools.
Administrators tell CBS2’s Meg Baker that students caught with e-cigarettes or other nicotine-delivery devices will face big trouble.
You vape, you get drug tested — that’s the deal in Essex County school districts, like Millburn and Montclair, and in Bergen County districts, like Ramsey.
Policies are being upgraded as e-cigarettes become more popular among teens. If caught using a vaping device, students can now be found in violation of substance abuse policies at some schools.
“I think it’s a good idea, because if they’re not supposed to be doing it, then the school should enforce the rules. And if they’re not supposed to be vaping at school, there should be some consequence for bad behavior,” parent Erin Taddei told Baker.
“They should have policies in place to make sure it doesn’t happen,” said fellow parent Steve Zike.
One parent wasn’t too sure about the drug testing factor.
“Getting drug tested, I don’t know. Maybe there are civil liberties, I don’t know,” she said.
Mary Kate Feldsott, a senior at Ridgewood High School, called the vaporizers a trend.
“It’s definitely a big thing. I’ve seen a lot of kids, even in class, trying to do it,” she said.
As Baker reported, students can sometimes get away with a quick puff from a device called JUUL – it’s compact, no smell, no smoke.
Ridgewood’s superintendent said some were caught vaping in bathrooms.
“Teachers are noticing that a lot more, so they’re kind of trying to I think monitor that,” said Feldsott.
A letter was sent to parents, warning them about the negative health effects of nicotine and other drugs that could be added to the vape pens. Students will get an automatic three-day suspension for using the devices.
In Ramsey, it’s even stricter. First offenders will be suspended for five days and will not be allowed to take part in any athletic, extracurricular or after school activities for seven days. Repeat offenders could be suspended for 10 days and banned from activities.
“I think now since they have seen a couple of kids get in trouble for it, it’s getting a little less,” Feldsott said.
Schools are getting some help from the state, too. As of November 1, you have to be 21 years old to legally purchase tobacco products in New Jersey.
Manufacturers aren’t making the crackdown any easier. Some discrete vaporizers look like lipstick or pens.