Senate approves bill to ban vaping in schools

By Barbara Hoberock Tulsa World

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would ban the use of vaping products on school campuses and events.

Senate Bill 33, drafted by Sen. J.J. Dossett, D-Owasso, was passed by a 45-1 vote. It now heads to the House for consideration.

Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, cast the lone dissenting vote.

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Dahm said he voted against the measure because it is already being handled locally.

In addition, it applies to adults and vaping products that do not contain nicotine, he said.

“It is just government overreach,” Dahm said.

Dossett said that while most schools ban the products in policy, putting it in state law elevates it.

Vaping involves inhaling a vapor created by the heating of infused liquid in a small, battery-powered tank. Many products contain nicotine.

Dossett said school districts are seeking something stronger than a policy in an effort to reduce vaping.

He said there has been a rapid increase in the number of students using the e-cigarette products.

He said he is doubtful that someone could find one administrator who says it is not a problem.

Dossett said he understands the measure is not a “cure all,” but it could have an impact on reducing the number of students who use the products.

The bill would apply to school vehicles, school-sponsored and school-sanctioned events and activities.

Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud, asked Dossett why the measure did not include CareerTech.

Dossett asserted that he hoped to expand the measure to include those campuses as well.

But CareerTech campuses have more adults compared to common education campuses, Dossett said.

Dossett said the measure would for now apply to public and private schools.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nicotine is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development.

Julie Bisbee, interim director of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, said currently about 16.4 percent of Oklahoma high school youths use the product, compared to 13.2 percent nationally for kids under age 18.

Published by Tobacco Stops With Me on February 15, 2019