Pinellas County schools say 'no' to e-cigarettes - FOX 13 News

Pinellas County schools say 'no' to e-cigarettes

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

It didn't take long for the Pinellas County School Board to just say no to e-cigarettes in schools.

"E-cigarettes are becoming more and more popular, so it's an issue that needs to be addressed," said Carol Cook, chairman of the Pinellas County School Board.

So board members took the first steps to update the district's tobacco and nicotine policies Tuesday. It'll add smoking "look-a-like" products to the not allowed list.

If approved, just like real cigarettes, the students, faculty and staff won't be catching a buzz with these on campus.

"It is a national trend; it's not only an issue for Pinellas County," said superintendent Michael Grego.

E-cigarettes have been gaining popularity. They're supposedly safer than the alternative, though their actual long term affects are still a mystery.

Users inhale steam and get a rush of nicotine, and they exhale vapor. Officials say they have popped up in Pinellas County high schools.

"It hasn't become a big problem yet, but we're trying to get ahead of it before it does become a problem," Cook said.

Currently, students with e-cigarettes are handled on a case-by-case basis, usually a call to mom is the first step. Eventually, though, it seems whether it's smoke or vapor, the idea will be the same: zero tolerance.

"Schooling is our No. 1 concern and nicotine types of products are not allowed in schools," Grego said.

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