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Governor Northam signs tobacco-free schools legislation

The bill expands current law to ban tobacco and vaping products on school buses, school property, and during school-sponsored activities.

RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill that will require all local school boards to develop and implements a comprehensive tobacco-free policy banning the use and distribution of any tobacco product or nicotine vapor product.

The bill, House Bill 2384 and Senate Bill 1295, will prohibit anyone from using or distributing the tobacco products on a school bus, on school property, and at on-site and off-site school-sponsored activities.

Current law prohibits smoking on school buses and in a school building, but it does not address smoking on other school property like school grounds or school-sponsored events, or other types of tobacco products, such as electronic cigarettes.

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“The recent and dramatic rise in youth smoking and vaping represents a serious public health crisis that requires our attention and action,” said Governor Northam. “We have a responsibility to prevent our children from being exposed to all types of tobacco or nicotine-containing products—as state senator, I led the successful, bipartisan effort to enact a statewide smoking ban in our bars and restaurants, and as governor I am proud to sign this legislation that will make Virginia schools and communities safer and healthier.”

The United States Surgeon General and the Food and Drug Administration recently declared that e-cigarette use among high school students is an epidemic that is leading a new generation of young people to become addicted to nicotine.

This legislation will go into effect on July 1, 2019.

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