INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. — The Indian River County School Board passed a resolution Tuesday night addressing vaping concerns for children and teenagers.
School board members say they are the first in the state to pass a resolution that declares their support behind laws that limit the access and marketing of e-cigarettes to young people. They also want to educate students, parents and school staff on the dangers of vaping.
School Board Chair Laura Zorc said some statistics suggest one in four people between 11 and 17 years old have tried vaping in Indian River County.
Zorc says she will be sending a copy of the resolution to other school board members statewide in hopes they will approve something similar.
“See if they’ll also pass that and then it will give it more substance in Tallahassee,” Zorc said.
She also plans to send it to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott to show support for any federal efforts behind vaping prevention.
“We want to make sure the message is clear in Tallahassee that what's going on in Collier County is going on in Indian River County is going on in Miami-Dade County and we need to come together and do something about this,” Zorc said.
Two specific bills Zorc hopes the resolution shows support for aim to ban E-cigarette use for anyone under 21 years old. Another bill restricts marketing and flavors that appeal to teenagers.
Christina DeFalco with the Substance Awareness Center of Indian River County was glad to see the school board take this action.
“This epidemic is real. It’s a crisis,” DeFalco said.
Her organization has worked with more than 5,000 students in Indian River County from 5th grade to high school to address vaping concerns.
“I see them making behavior changes. They call it disgusting. They say why would I do that.” DeFalco said. But, there’s so much room for improvement, she said.
The Indian River County School District also launched a new section on its website dedicated to vaping prevention and education for teachers, students, and parents.