Schools prohibit tobacco lookalikes and e-cigarettes

Monday, December 1, 2014
North Platte Bulletin

New tobacco-free school signs are appearing in Lincoln County to make it clear that tobacco lookalikes and electronic cigarettes are not allowed on school property either.

Examples of tobacco lookalikes include candy that is shaped like cigarettes, as well as jerky or bubble gum that is packaged to look like chewing tobacco.

Sutherland school's signs will be delivered Tuesday at 10 a.m. Other schools in Lincoln County already have signs, said organizer George Haws.

The new signs were provided by Community Connections-Tobacco Free Lincoln County Coalition. Haws is the coordinator of the coalition. He said there are reasons for schools to prohibit tobacco lookalikes and electronic cigarettes as well as the real things.

“Tobacco look-alike products glamorize tobacco use and can be appealing to youth. And when e-cigarettes are used in public, the similarity with conventional cigarettes can normalizes smoking behavior,” he said.

Many schools have had tobacco-free policies in place for several years. Originally, the policies only addressed combustible tobacco products like cigarettes and cigars, along with chewing tobacco. With the advent of e-cigarettes and concerns about tobacco look-alikes, he believes policies should be updated to include these products. The new signs capture the changes that have been made to policies, said Haws

Tobacco Free Lincoln County is a collaborative effort that focuses on keeping youth from starting to use tobacco, reducing access to tobacco products, and increasing awareness about the dangers of secondhand smoke and vapor. It is funded by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services/Tobacco Free Nebraska Program as a result of the master settlement agreement in November 1998, originally between the four largest U.S. tobacco companies and the attorneys general of 46 states, to avoid a protracted trial for fraud.

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Tobacco Free Nebraska • P.O. Box 95026 • Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-5026 • Phone: (402) 471-2101