NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- One day ago Arkansas legislators came together in a committee meeting to discuss the concern that more and more younger people are picking up vaping and to talk about it’s health effects and how to stop it.
“It’s an issue,” says Dustin Barnes, communication coordinator for the North Little Rock school district. “It’s a problem nationwide.”
Barnes say NLRSD isn’t exempt from the problem of young people vaping.
“We have some keen administrators who can pick this up and they instantly know what it is,” says Barnes, holding up a vape canister.
The device was confiscated from a student, one of a handful this year. It looks like a jump drive but it’s used for vaping.
“It will trick you if you don’t know what it is,” says Barnes.
Something like that, allowing students to sneak the devices on campus.
Drippers Vape Shop owner Scout Stubbs says it’s not stores like her Greenbrier shop where these kids are getting the products.
“They’ll send their older friend in and if we even see the younger kid in the car we’ll say I need his ID too,” says Stubbs.
She says a lot of these underage users are likely getting their stuff online.
“You still have the same bracket of kids that are going to do illegal things,” says Stubbs.
Stubbs understands the national concern about the recent cases of pulmonary illnesses connected to vape products but says there’s a lot of unclear information circulating.
“The FDA has expanded on the CDC’s announcement that ‘hey, stop vaping entirely,'” says Stubbs. “The FDA has literally taken it a step further and said ‘hey, be careful of THC containing vapor products because they’re illegal and unregulated’.”
All of her products are heavily regulated by the FDA with a comprehensive ingredient list submitted for every flavor.
Purchased legally or not, that doesn’t change NLRSD’s zero tolerance policy for vaping on campus.
“These vaping devices are nothing but distractions that will derail them from being their best selves,” says Barnes.
District policy is to confiscate the devices when students are caught with them and to contact parents. The same as with tobacco products.
Those students are then subject to a tier of punishments starting with a three day in school suspension for a first offense.