TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — State Senator J.J. Dossett proposed a bill to the Oklahoma State Senate to ban vaping in schools across the state.
The Senate Education Committee gave a unanimous approval on Tuesday to Senate Bill 33, which would expand the Tobacco-Free Schools Act to ban the use of any vaping products, including non-combustible devices and their cartridges whether or not they contain nicotine, at any public or private school buildings and vehicles.
Dossett was a teacher and held an interim study during the fall to look at the use of vaping products in Oklahoma schools.
He believes the increasing use of vaping products by students is alarming. Dossett said different studies show the number of teens who vape has exploded in recent years, but Oklahoma's laws banning smoking in schools have not been updated to address electronic cigarettes.
“The bottom line is just because it’s an e-cigarette, it doesn’t mean it’s safe," said Dossett, D-Owasso. "Kids particularly like JUULs. They look like a USB flash drive and kids can easily sneak them into the classroom and blow the vapors into their backpacks. But a JUUL pod can deliver as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. Nicotine is highly addictive and it hurts brain development in kids and can impact their ability to learn. Besides the harm nicotine does, there are other chemicals in these products that can damage the lungs of the kids who vape and the people around them.”
Senate Bill 33 will go to the full Senate next to be considered.
“I’m grateful for the support I received from the committee and look forward to taking this bill to the full Senate for a vote,” Dossett said. “It’s time we closed this loophole in the law and keep vaping out of our schools.”