BCHU uses a progressive discipline approach when dealing with issues related to vaping or smoking on school property. Progressive discipline includes meeting with students and providing counselling for tobacco and vaping cessation.
Smoke Free Ontario Act and Schools
The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 prohibits smoking tobacco or cannabis and vaping any substance in certain areas, this includes school buildings or on school grounds including in a vehicle. The schools and the Brant County Health Unit are working together to ensure that the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 is enforced. Section 12(1) of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 outlines what activities are prohibited:
It is illegal to smoke (or hold lit tobacco) or vape in any public or private school:
- indoor space
- outdoor grounds, including playgrounds
- public areas within 20 metres of the perimeter of the school’s grounds
It is also illegal to sell or supply tobacco or e-cigarettes to anyone under 19 is prohibited.
Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 – How the Act Affects: Schools (porcupinehu.on.ca)
Progressive Enforcement Process and Student Support
- If a student is found to be vaping or smoking on school property, school officials will email “Witness Reports” to the Health Unit to both firstname.lastname@example.org. The Witness Report covers two types of occurrences – either smoking/vaping or supplying/selling of vape and tobacco products.
- When the form is received at BCHU, a letter will be issued to the parents or guardian of the student. This “Warning Letter” is a first notice.
- A School Public Health Nurse (PHN) will receive the witness report. A PHN will contact the student at their school to have a one-on-one consultation to discuss the occurrence, the health implications of vaping/smoking and to explore smoking cessation options. Resources will be provided to support this dialogue.
- In the event there is a second/third occurrence for the same student, BCHU will again be notified and Tobacco Enforcement Officer (TEO) will be advised. The TEO will contact school administration and schedule a time to meet the student and a summons will be issued ($365)