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Utah House Approves Bill To Curb Vaping In Schools


House Bill 58 is one of many bills trying to reduce the use of e-cigarettes and vaping among Utah youth.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Susan Pulsipher, says schools report vaping is a huge concern for their students. The Park City School District told KPCW most student vaping happens at the high school, and last year, 14 football players from South Summit School District were disciplined for vaping on school buses. The South Jordan Republican cited statistics that 30% of Utah students reported having tried vaping.

“Devices are small and easily hidden and hard to detect," Pulsipher said. "Bathrooms are becoming vape rooms, and detectors are being installed to try to deter usage.”

The bill has three parts. The first establishes clear policies for vaping, requiring school boards to prohibit vaping on school grounds and allowing schools to confiscate and destroy vape pens or e-cigarettes. Another part of the bill would add information about the effects of vaping to school health curriculums. The last part would provide funding to schools to create a plan addressing potential causes of student vape use, such as peer pressure or mental health issues.

Herriman Rep. Candice Pierucci says vaping is a big educational issue for her constituents.

“Unfortunately, in our area, parents don't even understand the danger of these devices," Pierucci said. "So, I just wanted to say thank you, and this is the first step that we can make to put a dent in this issue.”

In an addition to its educational goals, Rep. Lowry Snow says the bill also addresses a serious health issue.

“We don’t know what the long-term effects are except that they're not going to be good,” Snow said.

The House unanimously passed HB 58. It now goes onto the Senate for consideration.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.
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