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It’s the law: Virginia schools go tobacco and e-cigarette-free

A newly signed state law will make all Virginia schools 100 percent e-cigarette-free and tobacco-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The law will require all Virginia school boards to implement “comprehensive” policies prohibiting the use and distribution of all tobacco and nicotine vapor products by students, staff, and visitors at all times on school property and at off-site, school-sponsored events.

Under this law, school divisions will be required to identify disciplinary actions for staff, students, and visitors that fail to comply, as well as to offer referrals to resources to help individuals overcome tobacco addiction.

The law helps schools address recent concerns over electronic cigarettes and vaping. From 2017 to 2018, vaping among teens in the U.S. spiked dramatically, with 3.6 million middle and high school students reporting that they currently use e-cigarettes. With the U.S. Surgeon General declaring e-cigarette use an epidemic, schools and school divisions have been clamoring for resources to protect their students. The new law ensures that all school division policies across Virginia cover current products on the market that may be attractive to youth, such as JUUL devices, as well as potential future products.