Electronic cigarettes are devices that use the power from a battery to produce odourless nicotine-containing vapours which the user inhales. This feature makes it particularly attractive to the mischievous teenagers who would otherwise have to hide themselves away if they wanted a smoke. The use of e-cigarettes in secondary schools has proliferated to such an extent that many of the schools have considered it fit to impose a blanket ban on the use of the product.
People fear that the e-cigarette which is touted as an aid to help smokers quit is in reality encouraging young students to start smoking. E-cigarettes do not have any traces of tobacco and hence are outside the purview of the Health Act 2006 of England, which prohibits smoking in any public place that is enclosed.
The electronic cigarette generates a vapour instead of smoke, is not subject to any age restrictions and are available in different attractive flavours. Even though the industry has grown rapidly to notch up estimated revenues ranging from 300 to 500 in the US alone, there has been little by way of scientific studies about the effects of e-cigarettes on the health of the users.
Most recently, Blatchington School, located in Hove, has banned the use of e-cigarettes. The school sent out written messages to the parents warning that e-cigarettes could be the precursor to smoking while drawing attention to the toxic chemicals found in some e-cigarettes.
Students confirm that the chances of getting caught using e-cigarettes are very slim, even when used in the classroom. They equate smoking with being rebellious and e-cigarettes are a mild version of smoking without the harmful side effects.
Acton High School, located in West London imposed a ban on e-cigarettes while pointing out their ‘novelty value’. Andy Sievewright, the head teacher of the school, warned parents that the use of e-cigarettes by young people could result in nicotine addiction and could lead them to smoking tobacco.
Burton Borough School located in Newport, Shropshire and Ribblesdale School located in Clitheroe, Lancashire have also prohibited the e-cigarettes.