Clark County schools weigh ban on tobacco use

LAS VEGAS - Clark County School District officials want to ban the use of tobacco products on campuses, in facilities and even by employees while driving school vehicles.

The district currently prohibits employees from smoking except in designated areas. Students are not allowed to smoke even if they meet the state's minimum age of 18.

The new regulation would ban use of all tobacco products, including chewing tobacco, on all properties as well as at district-sponsored events.

To be adopted by the district, any change in regulations must be approved by the Clark County School Board in two separate votes. The first vote on the matter is slated for Thursday.

"We must have absolute consistency in our message if we expect our students to listen when we tell them tobacco is a killer," said School Board member Denise Brodsky. "Children model themselves after adults, and children who see smoking as typical adult behavior are more likely to become smokers themselves."

The ban would mean that parents watching a sporting event or an after-school theater production couldn't take a smoke break on campus. It also means that teachers and other employees couldn't smoke during a break unless they left campus.

If approved, the ban would mean a healthier environment for students and staff, said Brodsky, past executive director of the Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition.

"We'll be limiting secondhand smoke exposure and hopefully encouraging our employees to quit," Brodsky said.

Stephen Augspurger, executive director of the Clark County School Administrators Association, said he had heard no complaints from his union's membership about the proposed ban.

Lawmakers during the last legislative session approved giving local school districts the authority to set such bans. Other local agencies, including those at the county and city level, are still prohibited from passing tobacco regulations stricter than those set by the state.

Joe Furtado, president of the district's support employees' union, said he planned to discuss the proposed ban with his executive board and decide whether they believed the district was overstepping its bounds.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment