Passaic County school starts ‘No vaping’ campaign to help students quit nicotine

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A Passaic County school is changing its policy on how students who are caught with electronic cigarettes are disciplined in an effort to get them to quit.

“Detention doesn’t do it. Sometimes it just makes them do it more,” says Lakeland Regional High School Assistant Principal Rita Mazza.

Mazza says that vaping is a problem in the Wanaque school – as it is in so many others. She says that the current disciplinary plan can only help so much.

"If they have possession of it, or they did, they get a day of in-school [suspension] and the parents get called and we take their device,” Mazza says.

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If the student is caught in the act of vaping, there is a $250 fine and a trip to court. But Mazza says that she knew they could do better.

"I decided to ask my superintendent if we could take a more educational role or a role where we can help students try to quit vaping instead of always penalize them for vaping,” she says.

So Mazza set up a “No vaping” campaign for November, which gives students an opportunity to anonymously turn in their vaping devices and get the tools to help them quit.

MORE: Rep. Gottheimer announces plan to curb underage vaping 

“They’ll admit they’re addicted. Some of them say they want to stop and some of them have no plans whatsoever. They just need that little push and guidance to help them stop,” Mazza says.

She says that she knows it won't be easy and that the school is ready to help the students kick the habit.

"We're gonna have ways during the day. If they need to leave a class and go walk around the track with an adult because it's going to be hard for them to start Day 1 quitting nicotine. They're addicted,” she says.

The school plans to hold the campaign during Tobacco Free Week in November. Mazza says that if they get a good number of devices, they will do it again in the spring.

 

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