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Palisades to update tobacco and nicotine use policy


Recognizing the prevalence of new smoking and related practices among its students as a health and safety hazard, among others around them as well as themselves, the Palisades School District is updating its 2013 policy on tobacco and nicotine.

The move is part of its ongoing review of all its formal policies, which includes promoting enforceability against any violations.

The move was made as approval by the school board for the first reading of the policy changes at its April 17 public meeting. The board already prohibited the possession, use or sale of tobacco and nicotine by students, as well as administrative, professional, and support employees “in a school building and on any property, buses, vans and vehicles that are owned, leased, or controlled by the school district, as well as prohibiting use “by district employees at school-sponsored activities that are held off school property.”

For tobacco, the changes add “cigarillo and little cigar” to lighted or unlighted “cigarette, cigar, pipe, or other smoking product,” and further defines smokeless tobacco as “in any form including chewing tobacco, snuff, dip or dissolvable tobacco pieces.”

For nicotine, “nicotine delivery products” is added, and nicotine is further defined as “a product that contains or consists of nicotine in a form that can be ingested by chewing, smoking, inhaling or through other means.”

Nicotine delivery products are defined as “a product or device used, intended for use or designed for the purpose of ingesting nicotine or another substance. This definition includes, but is not limited to, any device or associated product used for what is commonly referred to as vaping or juuling.”

The revised policy keeps the use of designated areas for the public for their use of tobacco, adding nicotine and nicotine delivery products, “on property owned, leased or controlled by the district that is at least 50 feet from school buildings, stadiums, and bleachers.” It also specifically excludes prohibition of “the use of a nicotine patch, gum or lozenge as a smoking cessation product by adult members of the public in attendance at school events.”

Also at the April 17 meeting, the board members entertained discussion among themselves, and later received comments from seven constituents in attendance, concerning a proposal to eliminate a 1986 “admissions tax” that has been especially unpopular among constituent owners of campgrounds and other recreational facilities in the district.

Contrary comments from constituents who were not owners of the businesses featured concern about losing the revenue, no matter how small, in light of shaving of teacher time for certain activities as a means for helping to limit tax increases.

The board voted to table the elimination proposal, pending clarification of key aspects of the present tax and its application.

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