Vaping task force continues work to curb use of e-cigarettes by students

The state task force on vaping met in Topeka on Monday to discuss research on the negative effect of vaping on health, outreach to students, and to prepare for its September report to the State Board of Education. 

The Task Force was established at the direction of the State Board following a presentation by public health officials that shocked state board members. They directed the immediate formation of a Work Group to develop recommendations by June. The work group evolved into a permanent Task Force that will make monthly progress presentations to the State Board; KASB Assistant Executive Director of Legal Services Angie Stallbaumer represents the association on the task force.   

Earlier this month, the Task Force distributed a “Vape Free toolkit for schools,” available here, to help school districts educate students and adults about the dangers of vaping. On Monday, the Task Force discussed the challenges of finding messaging that resonates with students and discipline issues around vaping. Members said enlisting student and former users’ help with social media and other outreach would be helpful. Counselors, school nurses, coaches and athletic trainers could also be helpful in making referrals to cessation programs. Youth-focused community programs could also help educate parents and students. 

The Task Force is preparing for its September report to the State Board by developing new Tobacco-Free School Ground signs that include references to vaping, putting together a Frequently Asked Questions document, and gathering information on state and federal efforts to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco and vaping products to 21. 

The group’s next meeting is Sept. 17. 

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