Page A1 | E-Edition | – Elko Daily Free Press

 Toni Milano  / TONI R. MILANO


A collection of vaping devices and “juices” that have been confiscated by Elko County school resource officers


A collection of THC-enabled vaping and smoking devices that have been confiscated by Elko County school resource officers

ELKO – Is vaping a public health issue among Elko County teens? If so, would an ordinance prohibiting use, purchase and possession of tobacco products curb the problem?

In the past year, three Elko High School students have been transported to Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital for vaping-related illnesses. Two teens took hits of cannabis, and one vaped nicotine.

“That’s a pretty scary thing for us to be called to come to a student who is unconscious on the ground after consuming those substances,” said EHS Principal Tim Wickersham.

The rise of vaping among Elko County youth is prompting County Commissioners to look into an ordinance that, if approved, would make it an offense for minors under 18 years old to purchase, possess or use tobacco products, mirroring alcohol laws already on the books.

Wickersham has seen an uptick in vaping use on campus for three years. Since the start of school in August he has suspended 61 students for vaping on campus.

Last year, 113 students were disciplined, and the year before it was 25, but only because the trend was so new, “we didn’t even have applicable policies in place to address vaping.”

“As a high school administrator, I have to tell you I’m terrified with what I’ve seen over the last two years,” Wickersham told the commissioners on Feb. 5.

Vaping on the riseAfter an effort to reduce teen smoking, e-cigarettes — first marketed as a method to quit smoking — have replaced

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