Vaporizers otherwise known as vape pens, personal vaporizers (PV), cloud pens, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and e-cigarettes are attractive to students for a number of reasons. Solely based on aesthetics, the sleek battery-operated cigarette, which houses an atomizer that vaporizes a liquid form of nicotine and other chemicals, is a far cry from its tar-and ash predecessor. The liquid inside e-cigarettes comes in individual cartridges, frequently with a flavoring such as chocolate, peppermint or pina colada. Flavoring masks the harshness of the product and makes them more appealing and enticing. The products that fill the cartridges are dry herbs, e-liquids, waxes and essential oils. Vaporizers are inexpensive and can be used over and over again, making them an inexpensive source of nicotine. Another characteristic of the vaporizer making it attractive to students is the fact that it only produces vapor that gives the satisfaction of smoking without the smell of smoke. In addition to the harmful nicotine some vaporizers contain potentially hazardous chemicals like metals, low-level nitrosamines and formaldehyde. There have been reports of psychoactive substances such as THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, cannabis, and hash oil in the cartridges.
School Districts and administrators should look at their current tobacco-free policies to include this newer product. A School District might consider the following language in revising current policy:
For purposes of this policy, tobacco use shall be defined as use and/or possession of a lighted or unlighted cigarette, cigar and pipe; other lighted or unlighted smoking product or material; chewing tobacco and all forms of smokeless tobacco; nicotine patches or chewing gum; and any oil or liquid/solid substance that produces the same physical manifestations that tobacco/smokeless tobacco/nicotine produces; as well as look-alike items/devices including, but not limited, to electronic cigarettes.