School’s Back in Session but Leave the Smokes at Home

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Virginia once was to tobacco what Detroit was to cars. But times change and tobacco in all forms — including e-cigarettes — is now illegal at schools throughout Virginia.

A state law that went into effect July 1 bans tobacco on school property at every school district in the state as well as on off-campus activities.

This is pretty much old news in Fairfax, where the county school system declared itself a smoke-free environment in 1994 and modified the policy in 2014 to add e-cigs to the list of banned items. The current policy “prohibits smoking and the use of tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, in all schools, administrative offices, facilities, FCPS vehicles, fields, and playgrounds.”

In 2005, Arlington Public Schools adopted a policy that states, “Smoking, chewing or any other use of tobacco products by staff, students and visitors is prohibited on Arlington Public Schools property.”

“For youth and children, if they don’t see tobacco and e-cigarette use, that creates a norm that it is not acceptable,” said Marge White, the deputy director of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth.

About 12% of high school students in the state use e-cigarettes, according to state data, a rate nearly double the number smoking traditional cigarettes.



About the Author

Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.