Taking a stand against e-cigarettes

Kudos to Brian Bagley, principal of the Wilton-Lyndeborough Middle-High School, for taking a strong stand against the use of electronic cigarettes, suggesting the installation of a system that would detect their use in the school’s bathrooms.

It is a big problem, he said, with as many as 40 percent of students using the devices and even starting in middle school.

The school board wants more information before making a decision. For instance, Chairman Harry Dailey wants to make sure the devices are tamper-proof and wants to know if they are wired or hard-wired.

But if the system can be shown to be effective, then “it’s a no-brainer,” he said.

Some kids and their parents seem to believe e-cigarettes are harmless, or relatively harmless, compared to tobacco. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance that can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s.

The kids are drawn in by flavors like menthol, candy or fruit, and they enjoy performing tricks with them, like blowing smoke rings. Add to that a desire to seem cool. There they are, a couple of 14-year-olds, in the boys room and one of them has an orange-flavored e-cigarette and he’s puffing away and he says, “C’mon, try it. Don’t be a chicken.” Well, for some kids, that’s all it takes and then two teens are puffing away.

We’re glad that the school board is open to Principal Bagley’s suggestion, because somebody has to fight back on this and the fight can’t always start at home. First of all, mom and dad might smoke, but if they don’t, that won’t necessarily stop the teen, and they might know nothing about it because teens tend to be secretive about things they don’t want mom and dad to know.

Prevention won’t stop kids from using, but not preventing the use of e-cigarettes in schools sends a bad message. So, study these devices quickly, and let’s see if they can be up and running at WLC by September.