Chemical health and e-cig use at SAHS

September 28, 2018

In recent months, there has been increased media coverage concerning the use of e-cigarettes among teenagers. Although teen use of traditional tobacco products such as cigarettes has steadily declined over the past several years, the use of e-cigarettes (“vaping”) has exploded to the point that Minnesota high school tobacco use increased in 2017 for the first time in 17 years, prompting the Minnesota Department of Health to label youth e-cigarette use as an emerging public health threat. According to SAHS student survey data administered in 2016, approximately 1 in 4 SAHS students have reported using an e-cigarette within the past 30 days. Whether this use takes place at school or in the community, this is a concerning statistic for anyone with a vested interest in maintaining a safe environment for our students.

At SAHS, we have taken a strong stand against e-cigarette use and vaping, combining a proactive approach through measures such as marketing education, Health class curriculum development, increased staff supervision of bathrooms (areas that are common for students who vape during the school day) and adding resources in the form of chemical health specialists in our school, along with reactive measures which include restorative justice programs for offenders, referrals to chemical health specialists and centers, charges through law enforcement and traditional school consequences such as suspension. All tobacco use including e-cigarette use and vaping (e-cigarettes are considered tobacco products due to the nicotine they release), is prohibited by state law in public schools and is a violation of District 834 policy.

The issues that we are seeing with regard to vaping and chemical health at SAHS are not dramatically different than those that are currently being seen in schools across the state and the country. With that said, we know that we have the potential to be much better than the state or national average, and we intend to confront this problem with you as parents as we feel that the safety and security of our students depend on our ability to do so effectively.

As parents, you are cordially invited to attend a SAHS community meeting in order to raise your own level of awareness around this problem, discover what you can do as parents, and help us at SAHS determine what we can do to address this problem. We are open to ideas and welcome the dialogue with you. Please join us on Wednesday, October 10 at 7:00 pm in the SAHS auditorium for this important conversation. Please RSVP on the following form so that we know how many people to plan for. If you cannot attend, there is an additional informational sheet attached that is also posted on our district/school web page.

Thank you in advance for your support! We look forward to meeting with you on Wednesday, October 10 and working with you to address this issue for our students.

Robert C. Bach, Principal