Massena Central bans vaping; board member suggests ‘scaring’ students away from vape products
Saturday, January 19, 2019 - 8:44 am

By ANDY GARDNER

North Country Now

MASSENA -- After a public hearing that drew no comments, the Massena Central Board of Education on Thursday passed a ban on vaping and possessing vape products in school.

Vaping refers to electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes. They vaporize a solution, generally glycol, mixed with nicotine and flavoring. Some mixtures contain no nicotine, but most people who vape use the substance. The clouds that users exhale are mostly water vapor, since there is nothing being burned.

There are mixed opinions on the long-term health risks of vaping. Prior to the board's vote, Superintendent Pat Brady said there is great concern among educators about youth using vape products and getting hooked on nicotine, which is highly addictive.

"This has become a major issue in schools across the country," Brady said. "One of the worrying parts about this is many of our youth ... don't see this as harmful.

"It has potential to bring students back to smoking cigarettes because of the nicotine you find in vaping."

One school board member suggested they should "scare" students into not using vape products.

After hearing that students are generally educated on vaping around junior high, Trustee Kevin Peretta responded by saying "Move it back. Scare them early."

"You mean educate them?" Brady said,

"When I was growing up, that's what they did. They scared you when you were in fourth grade," Peretta said.

Brady said he thinks more needs to be done at all levels to teach kids about nicotine and addiction.

"I think there needs to be more of those campaigns. When you watch the media on the national level, you don't see a lot of that there," he said.

Trustee Robert Leblanc suggested they start coming up with their own anti-vaping initiative.

"At the rate it's going ... we shouldn't wait. We should act now ourselves, with a campaign," he said.

The vaping ban passed with support from all seven of the board members in attendance. Trustee Jason Premo was not at the meeting and Peretta left before the board voted on their resolutions.