Oklahoma has a ban on tobacco products for public and private school buildings and vehicles. After conducting an interim study this fall, state Sen. J.J. Dossett has filed legislation for the upcoming session that would extend that ban to vaping.
“If you look at the studies coming out from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Surgeon General’s office, there is clear evidence that vaping is harmful to adolescents, Dossett, D-Owasso wrote in a press release yesterday.
“It gets kids addicted to nicotine which can harm their still-developing brains. It’s a fact that nicotine can affect decision making and impulse control. It can change the way synapses are formed, and it impacts attention and learning,” Dossett added. “My bill will close the vaping loophole so these products cannot be used in our schools.”
Dossett said under Senate Bill 33, the Tobacco-Free Schools Act, which bans tobacco products in all forms, the ban would be extended to vapor products, including the noncombustible device as well as the cartridges whether or not they contain nicotine.
In addition to the harm nicotine can cause to children and teens, Dossett said there are other chemicals in the aerosol from e-cigarettes that are also alarming. Diacetyl, which is used in flavoring vaping products, has been linked to an irreversible and serious lung condition called obliterative bronchiolitis. The aerosol also contains other chemicals and heavy metals. Studies are being conducted to determine the impact of these materials on the user and for those exposed to secondhand vapors.
“When we had our interim study on vaping, I heard from educators, administrators and parents who were very concerned about how pervasive it’s become on school property,” Dossett said. “Kids think it’s safe for them to use, but that is simply not true. With all these serious health concerns, it just makes sense to extend the school tobacco ban to vaping.”
Tulsa Today reached out to Sen. Dossett with additional questions:
- Does your bill dictate behavior for nontraditional / adult age students attending college or technical schools in Oklahoma?
- Do you intend to address the risks of excessive screen time on young students? Given recent studies that show screen time permanently changes the brains of the young thus impacting their ability to think, learn and resolve issues; is this not a more pressing issue? (Research links on topic are included below.)
Screen time on kids
Brain scans of adolescents who are heavy users of smartphones, tablets and video games look different from those of less active screen users, preliminary results from an ongoing study funded by the National Institutes of Health show, according to a report on Sunday by “60 Minutes.”
That’s the finding of the first batch of scans of 4,500 nine- to 10-year-olds. Scientists will follow those children and thousands more for a decade to see how childhood experiences, including the use of digital devices, affect their brains, emotional development and mental health.
In the first round of testing, the scans of children who reported daily screen usage of more than seven hours showed premature thinning of the brain cortex, the outermost layer that processes information from the physical world.
Video by Tristan Harris: Your brain is vulnerable to hacking (Excellent explanation).
Editor’s Note: This story will be updated when Sen. J.J. Dossett responds.