There's a new way some students are sneaking a smoke break at school. The principal at Lee County High says they're seeing an increase of electronic cigarettes on campus. Those devices are prohibited at school and there are consequences for students caught with them.
Principle Kevin Dowling says student safety is his number one priority, and he wants parents and students to understand what's inside that device and how it affects the body.
Dowling says Electronic cigarettes are becoming a trend among teens. " They've taken it on thinking 'this isn't bad for me because I'm inhaling a vapor, I'm not inhaling all of the carcinogenic smoke and all the chemicals additives and everything else.'"
The device is commonly used as an alterative to smoking cigarettes and is banned from school property. School officials say they are having a hard time detecting the vapor that's inside the device, compared to cigarette smoke.
"A Vapor is not like that it dissipates a lot quicker than what cigarette smoke does, so it's a little bit harder to detect and see."
Health officials say the nicotine in the vapor is very addictive. "People think that the nicotine is not as harmful, nicotine is an addictive substance and the use of E-cigarettes we're thinking may possibly lead to the use of other types of traditional tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars and pipes because they get hooked on the nicotine," said Remy Hutchins of the Southwest Ga Health District.
The Lee County Student Code of Conduct says the possession and use of any tobacco products including E-cigarettes is a level two offense and leads to several consequences. "Usually a few days in In School Suspension for the first offense and of course that means we are going to contact the parent and make them aware of what's going on," Dowling said.
Dowling wants parents and students to educate themselves. "Realize an electronic cigarette can look just like a pen, I mean they make them to look different than just a cigarette."
Dowling says students should tell school officials if they see anyone with an e-cigarette on school property, and students are reporting it when they see someone using the device. He says faculty will take the necessary steps to combat the problem.