The Kingston City School District has updated its nearly 13-year old smoking policy to reflect the modern age as it now relates to smoking, vaping, tobacco and cannabis use on school premises. It expects to vote on the update at the next meeting of the Board of Education.
“The previous policy for (policy no.) 1530 was ‘smoking,’” said KCSD School Board President James Shaughnessy during a meeting on Wednesday, August 11. “The title of the revised policy for the first reading is ‘smoking, vaping, tobacco and cannabis use on school premises.’ We’ve expanded the scope of the policy.”
“We certainly have,” said Superintendent Paul Padalino.
When originally adopted on December 8, 2008, policy no. 1530’s ban on smoking on school grounds wasn’t considered vague. Though vaping — a slang term for the use of electronic cigarettes — has been around for nearly two decades, it’s popularity has risen significantly over the past ten years. There were an estimated 7 million global users of e-cigarettes in 2011, and 41 million in 2018. By last year that number was up to around 68 million, still well shy of the 1.1 billion cigarette smokers around the world.
Use of e-cigarettes among students in the United States is also high. According to a September 18, 2020 report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 19.6 percent of high school students (3.02 million) and 4.7 percent of middle school students (550,000) reported current e-cigarette use. Among those, 22.5 percent of high school users and 9.4 percent of middle school students claimed they used e-cigarettes daily.
In March 2021, New York State legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. While the law does not apply to high school students, the KCSD’s policy no. 1530 applies to anyone on school grounds.
“…(I)t is the policy of this school district to prohibit smoking (including but not limited to use of electronic smoking devices or other use of tobacco/cannabis products by any student, employee, or visitor at any time within all school buildings, on school grounds and within 100 feet of the entrances, exits or outdoor areas of any elementary or secondary school building,” reads the updated policy, which also prohibits the sale and distribution of tobacco or cannabis products by students within all school grounds, as well as in vehicles owned occupied or leased by the district regardless of their location. The policy extends to off-campus school-sponsored activities.
The policy also prohibits tobacco and cannabis advertising and sponsorship on school property, in all school-sponsored publications and at all school-sponsored events. Further, school libraries are requested to order periodicals which exclude tobacco and cannabis advertising where possible.
Since its original adoption in December 2008, policy no. 1530 has been revised on August 19, 2009; May 7, 2014; and October 18, 2018. Trustees will vote on the latest revision at the next meeting of the Board of Education, scheduled for Wednesday, August 25.