Texas Passes Law Banning Vaping at School Events

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Texas law bans e-cigarettes at school events

In a move that many may find to be overreaching, the Texas legislature recently passed a law that bans anyone, including parents, from bringing e-cigarettes with them to any school event. The law, Senate Bill 97, was passed in May and will be fully implemented beginning in October.

Under the law, people cannot bring their vaping cigarettes with them even to away games for athletics. This means parents would be prohibited from riding with their student athletes to watch them play in such things as football games scheduled far away from home.

The school boards in the various Texas districts have a deadline of Oct. 1 to publish their individual policies regarding the ban on e-cigarettes. It is unclear how these policies will be enforced, as the legislature has apparently left that decision up to the individual school districts.

A spokesperson for the Texas Association of School Boards indicated that he doesn’t foresee too many issues occurring as a result of the ban. According to him, many schools in Texas already have bans in place for e-cigarettes on their campuses. It is unclear, however, whether the existing bans apply only to students or if it also applies to parents and other adults.

Many adults in Texas and elsewhere use their e-cigarettes now as their primary source of nicotine. It is foreseeable that adults will react angrily to the state’s move. A question remains about how schools will go about enforcing the new law, and whether they will begin banning parents from attending events if they happen to bring e-cigarettes with them, if the students will be punished in some way for their parents’ actions or if the districts will basically be acting as law enforcement officers with adults.

It is understandable that schools have bans preventing students from bringing e-cigarettes with them to school and to extracurricular activities. Extending those bans to include adults seems a little draconian, however. Telling adults that they cannot carry a vape pen with them even off campus when it is otherwise legal to do so is extreme.

Although vaping is largely unregulated across the United States, the action by Texas shows that the individual states are moving towards regulating e-cigarettes and their use. Several major cities, including Los Angeles and New York, have implemented bans to prevent people from vaping in restaurants, many workplaces and in parks.

As the enforcement policies are published across Texas, it will be interesting to see exactly how the different districts plan to go about enforcing the new law. If two different districts have different policies but have a game against each other, it is also unclear which school’s policy will be used in the event of a violation, especially if the parent or other adult has traveled to the location to watch an away-game.

Considering all of this, do you think that the new law in Texas is too broad?

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  • Ali Esmaili
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