• What is Vaping

    Vaping is the inhaling of a vapor created by an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) or other vaping devices.

    E-cigarettes are battery-powered smoking devices. E-cigarettes, or vaping, products can be used to deliver nicotine, cannabis (THC, CBD), flavorings, chemicals, and other substances. The liquid is heated into a vapor, which the person inhales. That's why using e-cigarettes is called "vaping."

    Why is Vaping a Problem

    20% (5 million) of all youth use e-cigarettes, a 135% increase in just two years. Recently 2,300 illnesses and more than 50 deaths have been attributed to vaping or vaping related illnesses.

    The mid-to-long-term consequences of e-cigarettes are not yet known, as it's a new product and has been sold for less than a decade in the U.S. While much remains to be determined about these lasting health consequences of these products, it is troubling to be sure. The inhalation of harmful chemicals can cause irreversible lung damage and lung diseases. 

    What Are We Doing About It

    Vaping has become increasingly prevalent within Knox County Schools, and we are taking steps to address this rapidly growing problem among our middle and high school students.

    We will be actively engaging our students to help them understand the potential health consequences of vaping and implementing new disciplinary guidelines that we hope will reduce the use of e-cigarettes.

    An outline of the new vaping protocols that will go into effect January 13 for all middle and high schools is below:

    Vaping without THC
    Student’s first offense:
    • May be cited at the discretion of law enforcement and result in a $117 court cost
    • Receives two days of out-of-school suspension
    • Upon returning to school, spends one day in the restorative learning center for intervention services, including:
      • Completing four (50 minutes) INDEPTH videos (Intervention for Nicotine Dependence: Education Prevention Tobacco and Health), and
      • Making a presentation to the parent/guardian and staff member.

    Student’s second offense:
    • May be cited at the discretion of law enforcement and result in a $164 court cost
    • Receives four days of out-of-school suspension

    Student’s third offense:
    • May be cited at the discretion of law enforcement and result in a $164 court cost
    • The school conducts a disciplinary hearing that could result in a five to 10-day out-of-school suspension.

    Vaping with THC

    Any vaping that contains THC will result in a zero-tolerance offense (180-day out-of-school suspension and an alternative placement will be offered).  

    These protocols were developed with the assistance of our community partners, as well as KCS administrators, teachers and security personnel. We want to thank the Knox County Health Department, Knox County Sheriff’s Department, Knoxville Police Department, Tennessee Department of Health, Knoxville DEA 360 and the National Drug Enforcement Agency for their collaboration on this important matter.

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