Wyoming County Board of Education members have voted to be more stringent in enforcing the policy on the use of tobacco on school premises both during and after school hours (Policy 7434). A No Tolerance policy regarding the use of tobacco will be enforced and will apply to everyone who steps on school property.

While the No Tobacco Use policy has been in effect and enforced during school hours, enforcement has not been as strict for after-hours activities, including ballgames and other sporting events. Effective immediately, both adults and students will be prohibited from the use of tobacco or tobacco substitute products in school buildings, on school grounds and at any school-sponsored function.

"We believe that in order to protect students and staff who choose not to use tobacco from an environment noxious to them, and because the Board does not condone smoking, and/or the use of tobacco, we need to be more vigilant in enforcing this policy," Wyoming County Schools Superintendent Deirdre Cline said.

The ban will, according to the county policy, include: any tobacco product, or tobacco-derived product, meaning any product containing, made or derived from tobacco, or containing nicotine derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption whether smoked, breathed, chewed, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled, vaporized, snorted, sniffed or ingested by any other means.

Alternative nicotine products such as electronic cigarettes or similar devices, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products will also not be tolerated.

Any individual who is caught using any tobacco product while on school property will be reprimanded. Students will face disciplinary actions if found to be using or distributing tobacco products and adults who disregard the policy will be asked to leave by law enforcement. Other legal actions could be taken against those who do not comply.

"The Board of Education is committed to providing students, staff and visitors with a tobacco and smoke-free environment," Cline said. "The negative health effects of tobacco use for both users and nonusers, particularly in connection with second-hand smoke, are well established.

"Providing a non-smoking and tobacco-free environment is consistent with the responsibilities of teachers and staff to be positive role models for our students.

"We know that our citizens value the health of children, and although the enforcement of this Law and Policy may cause some temporary discomfort to some, certainly we are all concerned about the well-being of our students. We appreciate the cooperation of everyone as they visit and participate at our schools."