E-Cigarrettes have been banned from Ladysmith and Chemainus secondary schools over concerns they may be used as ‘deliver devices’ for alcohol and drugs.

E-Cigarrettes have been banned from Ladysmith and Chemainus secondary schools over concerns they may be used as ‘deliver devices’ for alcohol and drugs.

E-Cigarettes banned at high schools

Concerns raised that smokeless cigarettes could be used as ‘delivery devices’ for alcohol, drugs

Students at Ladysmith Secondary School are being told to leave their e-cigarettes at home, or risk having them confiscated Principal Steve Thompson confirmed in an interview with the Chronicle.

“Our job every day is the care and safety of our students,” he said, noting that the increasingly popular habit of ‘vaping’ or smoking e-cigarettes, can no longer be seen simply as a means of quitting smoking – there is evidence e-cigarettes can be used to ingest substances like alcohol and even drugs

The decision follows a May 14 principals’ meeting where e-cigarette use was discussed and it was decided it would be appropriate to impose a ban on the devices. “It’s a decision that’s made at the school level,” Thompson said, but he added other schools will also be restricting use of the devices.

At Chemainus Secondary School e-cigarettes had already been banned. Vice Principal Mike Martin said they are treated the same way as any tobacco product “and as such there’s a bylaw that prohibits the use of tobacco products on school property.”

Both schools will take the same steps if a student is caught with an e-cigarette on or around school grounds: the device will be confiscated and returned to a parent of the student.

Use of e-cigarettes has not been permitted inside schools, but to date not all schools have taken the step of an outright ban on possession of the devices while at or around a school. Uncertainty over what the devices can be used for has led to the tightening of restrictions.

“They’re more of a delivery device,” Thompson said. “Not only do they deliver nicotine products, they deliver non-nicotin products, too. We see it as no longer an alternative to smoking.”

Both schools said the use of e-cigarettes is not prevalent among students. “We’re talking about a very small number of students,” Thompson said. “It won’t affect or impact a significant number of students at the school.”

Nanaimo-Ladysmith SD Director of Communications Dale Burgos said the use of e-cigarettes falls within the code of conduct of individual schools, but he added, “Everybody’s on board, all the other schools are in a similar situation.”

Regulators have not been able to keep up with the rapidly increasing popularity and diversified use of e-cigarettes. And there is a dearth of research about the effects of the devices, either as a means of ingesting nicotine, or as a means of ingesting drugs and alcohol. But it is known that ‘juice’ for e-cigarettes can be acquired – often from offshore – that includes substances that are not legal in Canada.

E-cigarettes are battery operated. They vaporize liquid products in a heating chamber, and the vapour can then be inhaled like cigarette smoke.