Long Island school districts are cracking down on electronic cigarettes, adding specific campus bans on the devices to their anti tobacco policies.

The percentage of U.S. middle and high school students who use electronic cigarettes, or e cigarettes, more than doubled from 2011 to 2012, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. The Food and Drug Administration bars the sale of e cigarettes to those under age 18.

State law prohibits smoking on school grounds, and many Island districts, such as Jericho, are applying their current anti tobacco regulations to e cigarettes. But others are taking the extra step of specifically banning the devices both those that have nicotine and those that are nicotine free.

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Lynbrook schools’ athletic and physical education director Tom Graham, who sits on the Nassau County Heroin Task Force, said officials in his district were spurred to action, in part, because research shows people have manipulated e cigarettes to mask marijuana use.

“So that was our concern, that we could have a student, adult, anybody, and they could come in and be smoking an e cigarette on our school grounds, and they can be getting high,” he said, adding he expects other Island districts to institute similar bans.

E cigarettes are battery powered devices that provide doses of nicotine and other additives to the user in an aerosol, according to the Centers for Disease Control. There are flavored varieties and nicotine free inhalers.

The typical e cigarette contains an atomizer that sets off a vapor of propylene glycol, the key liquid ingredient. Propylene glycol is generally considered safe, but experts say the compound and others in e cigarettes have not been fully studied for safety.

Pitched as safer option

E cigarettes have been marketed as a way to lessen or stop smoking conventional cigarettes. Because they do not contain the tar of traditional cigarettes, they also have been said to be less dangerous. The FDA currently regulates only those that are marketed for therapeutic purposes.

Thomas Kiklas, co founder of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, based in Alpharetta, Ga., said the group supports restrictions on the devices’ use by minors, but opposes limits on adults’ use.

“We understand where legislative bodies are searching for a path of regulation, and our suggestion is the prohibition on the sales and marketing to minors,” Kiklas said.

However, “for a teacher who is a smoker, to say you can’t use it on school grounds is irresponsible,” Kiklas said.

He described e cigarettes as “a transitionary product” that gives smokers an alternative to traditional cigarettes, and said secondhand e cigarette vapor is vastly less harmful than tobacco cigarettes.

Kiklas, noting that people have come up with a variety of ways to use marijuana, objected strongly to criticism of e cigarettes stemming from alteration of the devices. Rather, he said, e cigarettes should be credited with helping millions of people make the transition away from conventional cigarettes.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, based in Washington, D.C., has warned of the potential dangers of e cigarettes, saying health risks from their use are not yet known. Synthetic cigarettes could entice young people to smoke traditional cigarettes, the society said.

“Behavior that simulates smoking, whether it’s tobacco smoke or vapor, has the same effect normalizing smoking,” said Michele Bonan, regional director of advocacy for the network.

New York City restricted electronic cigarette use in December, adding the devices to the city’s ban on smoking in restaurants, bars, parks and other public places.

The CDC’s finding that e cigarette use among young people nationally is rising comes as use of traditional tobacco among young people in New York State has been declining.

Use by high schoolers

The percentage of high school students who reported ever using an e cigarette rose from 4.7 percent in 2011 to 10 percent in 2012, the most recent data available, the agency’s National Youth Tobacco Survey found. More than 1.78 million middle and high school students nationwide had tried e cigarettes in 2012, according to the survey.

In New York, the state Department of Health said smoking rates among high school students in 2012 had fallen to 11.9 percent, the lowest since health officials began keeping track in 1997.

The state Health Department did not have current figures on electronic cigarette use.

Islip is another school district that soon is to consider adding a specific ban on e cigarettes to its prohibitions against smoking. The current smoking prohibition applies to staff and students, and covers school buildings and all school grounds.

“We wanted to be more specific,” Superintendent Susan A. Schnebel said. The issue will go to the policy committee for the Board of Education and could come up for a vote in coming weeks.

Islip high school and middle school students, who are part of a superintendent’s roundtable that advises school officials on policy matters, support the added restriction.

“Their interpretation is that ‘Smoking is smoking, whether natural or synthetic’ and it would be disruptive in the school,” Schnebel said.

Sixth grader Gabriella Reyes, 11, a member of the roundtable, said she considers electronic cigarettes “a health risk, and it is not proven to be healthier.”

And Vincent Capolongo, 14, an eighth grader, said he “wouldn’t want to see someone pull out a cigarette, even if it is natural or synthetic.”

In the Middle Country school district, Superintendent Roberta Gerold, who is president of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association, said the district banned e cigarettes in the 2009 10 school year to send a message to the student body.

“We wanted to make sure they didn’t think it was OK to have electronic cigarettes in school,” she said.

Rowan warr-hunter: e-cigarettes — freedom to vape

Ex-marlboro man dies from smoking-related disease

If you want to understand what life is like for the Canadian entrepreneurs who are seeking to serve the growing demand for electronic cigarettes, consider me. My family and I own an online vaping business, along with a brick and mortar store located in Trenton, Ont.

There are four of us involved in the operation, with a total of 90 years of smoking traditional cigarettes between us. All of us have been smoke free for close to three years since we started vaping. Each one of us had tried every available cessation product on the market (medications, patches, gum, inhalers, cold turkey, hypnosis and acupuncture) with zero success at leaving cigarettes behind. One by one, we each switched to electronic cigarettes, and one by one each of us tossed out our ashtrays and lighters in favour of batteries and clearomizers. We were so impressed with our own success that we opened our business in 2012.

In December, our business received a letter from Health Canada entitled, Illegal sale of Nicotine E Liquid Products, informing us that the e liquid products we offer for sale (which users load into their e cigarettes) may contain nicotine and therefore may be in violation of the Food and Drugs Act and its regulations.

One by one, people in my family switched to electronic cigarettes. One by one, each of us tossed out our ashtrays and lighters in favour of batteries and clearomizers

The letter made a request for us to supply Health Canada with a list of all brand name electronic smoking products that we are importing and selling, as well as the name and address of establishments to which we have distributed e liquids. They also requested the ingredient list for each brand we carry, a copy of the product labels and written confirmation that our establishment has ceased importing, advertising, distributing and selling e liquids containing nicotine or other drugs.

Many vendors across Canada have received similar letters, and continue to receive them. Health Canada is effectively trying to put us out of business.

As vendors in Canada, we also are experiencing delays in hardware coming into the country, as well as delays in the distribution of food flavourings, clearomizers and the like. Vendors are struggling to keep stock while Canadian customs agents hold incoming orders for Health Canada to inspect for weeks or months at a time this despite the fact that hardware and general electronics does not fall under the scope of Health Canada s regulatory authority.


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The Electronic Cigarette Trade Association (ECTA) of Canada and its members have reached out time and again to try to engage Health Canada in discussions on how to properly regulate electronic cigarettes, to no avail. To date, no ECTA member has received a follow up letter in response to their replies to Health Canada warnings. What we do receive is another version, or a variation, of the same letter the next year. This has created a similar situation to that in the United States in 2010 The FDA was sued, and lost in court, for stopping electronic cigarette shipments. The courts repeatedly ruled that these products do not fall under the agency’s regulatory authority.

In our case, we replied to Health Canada with a registered letter, declining their request, because, according to their own Prescription Drug List, nicotine in the concentrations found in electronic cigarette vapour is exempt. ECTA has funded a study, conducted at a Health Canada accredited lab, which shows the amount of nicotine delivered by electronic cigarettes falls well below the 4 mg threshold set out by the government.

Which means that nicotine is legal for Canadians to buy, sell and use without a prescription in the designated forms, as long as there are no health or cessation claims made by the business selling them. (We do not market our products as smoking cessation devices, and advance no particular health claims.)

In the absence of proper regulation from the government, ECTA and its members have created an industry standard by applying all of the laws that are present in Canada to include regular testing of liquids in a Health Canada accredited lab, and product labelling as set out in the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations. All ECTA members enforce age of majority sales policies, both online and at retail locations. While Health Canada is telling Canadians that not enough is known about electronic cigarettes, ECTA continues to fund more testing, and is working with Canadian tobacco harm reduction expert Paul Bergen.

Contrary to Health Canada s statements on the issue, numerous studies on e cigarettes have been done worldwide including by Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos of the Department of Cardiology at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens, and Boston University School of Public Health professor Michael Siegel.

Roughly 40,000 people in Canada will die from tobacco related diseases this year, yet Health Canada is choosing not to study, or promote, this smokeless alternative

Over the past few years, we have heard just about every argument, both for and against electronic cigarettes. But we think the most compelling is the basic idea of tobacco harm reduction Those who vape are reducing the amount of harm they are doing to themselves, and those around them, simply by finding a new nicotine delivery system that doesn t involve inhaling the by products of burning plant matter.

Electronic cigarettes are vaporizers. They vaporize liquid, which is made from a mixture of vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol, food grade flavouring and (if desired) nicotine. Compare this to the numerous known cancer causing chemicals in tobacco smoke that Canadian adults can freely purchase across the country. The smokeless devices I sell deliver just four ingredients that tens of thousands of people already are using across Canada.

Roughly 40,000 people in Canada will die from tobacco related diseases this year, yet Health Canada is choosing not to study, or promote, this smokeless alternative. Instead, they are harassing and threatening the small Canadian business owners who are trying to make a living by selling a legal product that simply gives people a choice.

National Post

Rowan Warr Hunter sells electronic cigarettes and accessories at , where the motto is Life doesn t have to be a drag.