Officials Feared They Could Be Manipulated For Pot Use On Campus

LYNBROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Fearing electronic cigarettes might be rigged to mask marijuana use, some Long Island schools are banning the devices from their campuses.

As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, Lynbrook High School is one of the first schools on Long Island to prohibit e-cigarettes, which are credited with helping some people quit smoking tobacco. Because they are relatively new, there had been no policy.

School officials point to Internet videos in which users brag about converting e-cigs for drug use.

“We haven’t had any situations here in Lynbrook, but we didn’t want to have that situation,” said Tom Graham, athletic director for the Lynbrook Union Free School District. “We didn’t want to be at an event where anyone, whether it was a student or an adult, walks into the building and is possibly getting high.”

Thomas Kiklas, co-founder of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, said the industry agrees with restricting the sale of the product to minors, but not for adults. “The electronic cigarette is vastly less harmful than tobacco cigarettes,” he said.

But school officials have also cited concerns that e-cigarettes can be a gateway to addictive smoking.

“We didn’t want them going from an e-cigarette to actually tobacco use,” Graham said.

Mark Levine, who owns Utopia, a smoke shop in Hicksville, credits e-cigarettes he sells with getting people to quit a deadlier habit.

The battery-operated devices heat up liquid nicotine and deliver a chemical-infused vapor to mimic traditional cigarette smoking.

“I know as a parent I’d rather my child smoke an electronic cigarette versus a regular cigarette,” he said. “That’s for sure.”

The American Cancer Society said it supports an e-cigarette ban in places where smoking tobacco is also banned. They say without any federal regulation, the public has no guarantees about how the products are made or what toxins they might contain.

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