Bill to ban vaping in Oklahoma schools clears first hurdle
OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that would ban vaping in Oklahoma schools has passed the first hurdle in the new legislative session.
Currently, there is a state-wide ban on tobacco products, which includes public and private school buildings and vehicles. However, Sen. J.J. Dossett says the ban does not explicitly include vaping products.
“If you look at the studies coming out from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Surgeon General’s office, there is clear evidence that vaping is harmful to adolescents. It gets kids addicted to nicotine which can harm their still-developing brains. It’s a fact that nicotine can affect decision-making and impulse control. It can change the way synapses are formed, and it impacts attention and learning,” said Dossett, D-Owasso. “My bill will close the vaping loophole so these products cannot be used in our schools.”
Dossett says studies are being conducted to determine the impact of other chemicals in vaping products on the user and those exposed to second vapors.
“The bottom line is just because it’s an e-cigarette, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. Kids particularly like JUULs. They look like a USB flash drive and kids can easily sneak them into the classroom and blow the vapors into their backpacks. But a JUUL pod can deliver as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes,” said Dossett. “Nicotine is highly addictive and it hurts brain development in kids and can impact their ability to learn. Besides the harm nicotine does, there are other chemicals in these products that can damage the lungs of the kids who vape and the people around them.”
Dossett authored Senate Bill 33, which would expand the Tobacco-Free Schools Act to include any vaping products, including noncombustible devices as well as the cartridges, whether or not they contain nicotine.
On Tuesday, the bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee.
It will now head to the full Senate.