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Board of Education Approves Anti-‘Vaping’ Resolution (01-14-20)

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Shannon Haber, 213-241-6766                                       January 14, 2020

LOS ANGELES — The Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday condemning the use of e-cigarettes and criticizing the tobacco industry for its role in creating a “vaping epidemic” that affects the health and well-being of students.

Authored by Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III, the resolution underscores Los Angeles Unified policy that prohibits the use of any tobacco product on campus and during school activities. It also calls for students to be educated about the dangers of tobacco, and for civic and government leaders to put a halt to the sale of tobacco and vaping products to children.

“The health of our students is equally as important as academic achievement,” Dr. McKenna said. “We stand proudly against the flavored tobacco industry’s propaganda that targets our society’s most cherished members – children. As an educational institution, we will continue to educate students against the harms of all tobacco products, and we call on our elected, community and civic leaders to do the same.”

Superintendent Austin Beutner noted that Los Angeles Unified filed a class-action lawsuit in October against Juul Labs Inc., the nation’s largest manufacturer of e-cigarettes and vaping devices. The suit alleges that the vaping epidemic harms students, disrupts learning and takes time and money away from Los Angeles Unified’s core mission of educating students.

“Los Angeles Unified is taking steps to ensure those responsible will pay the price to repair the harm done to our students, our schools and the communities we serve,” Superintendent Beutner said. “Every day, students are being harmed as a result of vaping products in schools. Others need to join us in this fight – and quickly.”

The measure was co-sponsored by Board Vice President Jackie Goldberg Board and Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson.

“Because of youth-focused flavored tobacco and the marketing of vaping devices, students are becoming addicted to nicotine at a younger and younger age,” Vice President Goldberg said. “We need to educate our students about the impact of nicotine on their health and to put an end to the illegal sale of tobacco and vaping products to our kids.”

“As educators, administrators, support staff, elected officials and role models, when we know better, we can do better,” Board Member Schmerelson said. “With this resolution of Dr. McKenna's, Los Angeles Unified is stepping forward to protect the safety and well-being of our students. Now, we need our legislators to stand with us and permanently ban all flavoring in tobacco products sold in California.”

“I stand with my fellow Board Members in banning and discouraging our students from vaping and using tobacco-related products,” Board President Dr. Richard Vladovic said. “We must stop this epidemic from poisoning our students’ health, we must protect this generation, we must be the example.”

“It’s unfortunate to see how the vaping culture has negatively impacted our students,” Board Member Mónica García said. “I am glad that we are taking a stance to make sure that our students are safe, healthy and protected.”

“Our district filed a lawsuit against Juul in October for the dangers that vaping has posed in our student population,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “I'm glad to see that we are pursuing additional approaches – like education and awareness campaigns and action from our local policymakers – to bring the safety hazards of vaping and tobacco to light and keep our kids safe.”

“The tobacco industry has long viewed our young people as prime targets for their harmful products, but we at Los Angeles Unified will continue to do everything we can to protect our students,” Board Member Kelly Gonez said. “Our lawsuit against Juul shows that we are ready and willing to push back against companies that seek to prey on our students.”