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Texas students face tough, new mandatory punishment for vaping

Teens' use of vape devices is increasing, and they're not always aware if nicotine is in the mix.
Jane Khomi
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Getty Images
Teens' use of vape devices is increasing, and they're not always aware if nicotine is in the mix.

Beginning Sept. 1, any Texas student caught vaping at school will face a harsher penalty under a new state law.

House Bill 114 makes vaping punishable by mandatory assignment to a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program, or DAEP, run by the district.

Previously, penalties were at a district’s discretion.

HB 114 also relaxes punishment for students who vape THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. Previously, students who vaped THC had been expelled.

Dallas trustee Edwin Flores said smoking anything from an e-cigarette now carries the same penalty as “bringing drugs or alcohol to school.” The board on Thursday formally adopted the new policy for its student code of conduct.

"The law’s, the law and our policies follow the law," he said.

Flores, an attorney, welcomed the policy because he’s also a biologist.

“As a biologist you know, to me, if you put something burning into your lungs, that’s not healthy,” he said. “Whether it’s cigarettes, a cigar, pot or vaping, it’s the same bad thing for your health.”

Statistics behind HB 114 suggested up to 10% of Texas students vape.

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Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues. Heâââ