E-cigarettes added to tobacco ban for Eugene's schools

E-cigarettes added to tobacco ban for Eugene's schools

EUGENE, Ore. -- With the increasing popularity of electronic cigarettes, the Eugene 4-J School District changed their existing tobacco ban Thursday to include them.

The electronic – or e-cigarette does contain nicotine, but not tobacco. That's why there's no age restriction for their purchase In Oregon.

Local smoke shop Emerald Vapors only sells e-cigarettes to customers 18 and over.

"Its probably about five times busier than it was when I started,” said Emerald Vapors manager Asher Sagrada. “It sucks because kids that smoke cigarettes, it would be less harmful for them to use an e-cigarette but I don't feel okay selling it to them so we don't do it." 

The Centers for Disease Control said that twice as many high school students have been getting their hands on them from 2011 to 2012.

The Oregon School Board Association recently reminded school districts about an optional e-cigarette ban. That’s what prompted Eugene 4-J to take action on Thursday by revising their tobacco policy to include any lighted or unlighted cigarettes including tobacco substitutes like e-cigarettes. 

District officials have been seeing more students show up with the smokeless cigarettes.

“I think part of it is that it’s trendy, and the fact that you’re not gonna smell like cigarettes,” Sagrada said on the appeal of e-cigarettes. “It’s about a fifth of the cost, if not less to maintain." 

The Eugene 4-J School District was not available for comment, however they did provide their two revised tobacco policies – one for students and another for staff.