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Hudson bans selling, owning vaping devices for minors

Shared in an email sent to parents, this photo shows some of the recent vapes and devices that have been confiscated at Hudson High School. The city has passed an ordinance against vaping of any kind for those under 18. Photo courtesy of Hudson High School

Vaping, nicotine or otherwise, is now banned in the city of Hudson for those under 18 after the council approved a new ordinance prohibiting the sale, purchase and possession of nicotine and non-nicotine electronic delivery systems and vapor product on Monday, March 26.

The city ordinance will support already standing bans at Hudson High School, and comes in part from a request from the school.

HHS Dean of Students Andrew Bauschelt said having a city ordinance with more than school consequences will help decrease the issue in the building.

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"The ordinance will have a lot more teeth to it," Bauschelt said.

Initial discussion on the ordinance was on banning nicotine products, but further discussion in committee led to the proposed ban on both electronic nicotine delivery systems as well as non-nicotine vaping products.

The city already has a tobacco ordinance, but it did not include non-tobacco nicotine products that are used in vapes.

Tobacco products like cigarettes are on the decline, said HHS Principal Peg Shoemaker, but vaping is increasing. In the last year, Bauschelt said he has confiscated close to $4,000 worth of vaping items.

"It's a daily struggle," Bauschelt said.

Shoemaker said it's easy for students to get these devices, as they're often sold online.

Consequences from the school currently include community service in the school, in-school suspension or Saturday school. Response from the school also includes discussion with parents and education on the issue.

"We want to get to them, talk to them about the issues of vaping because realistically they're very uneducated on it," Bauschelt said.

With the new ordinance a student caught vaping would face school punishment as well as a city citation, as they would if they were caught smoking tobacco products.

"We really don't see it any different than smoking in schools," Shoemaker said.

A state statute is in place against nicotine products, but Police Chief Geoff Willems said using that for a violation would mean a misdemeanor, something he'd rather avoid for teenagers.

With the new ordinance, violators will be issued a city citation. First offense will be a bond amount of $92.50, with subsequent offenses costing $124.

For both the school and the safety, one of the main components of the ban is concern for the health and wellness of kids.

"Ultimately we just want to support our kids' safety," Shoemaker said.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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