After hearing from the Tobacco Free Columbia Dane County Coalition, an Oregon Cares Coalition member and two students from Oregon High School, the Village Board took a step to prohibit vaping in public places.

Ryan Sheahan represented the tobacco-free coalition and told the board Monday night of the potential health effects of vaping and said the group is trying to “create and keep social norms” where smoke in public places is not accepted.

According to a survey presented by Amy Miller, a school district employee and OCC member, 31 percent of OHS students vape or use Juul (pronounced “jewel”), which is nearly double the county average. She pointed out the OHS survey was conducted with language that included the Juul e-cigarette device, which might have inflated the discrepancy.

She said 7.7 percent of students at Oregon Middle School responded that they had vaped or Juuled, as well.

The anti-smoking ordinance is state law, so the board directed staff to come up with a measure “to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes where smoking is (already) prohibited,” which passed unanimously.

OHS students Autumn Faircloth and Kathryn Small addressed the board representing FACT, a student group “dedicated to tobacco prevention through activism, education and prevention work.”

Trustee Randy Glysch commended the group for their work, saying “this is what the tobacco companies like to do: Get the kids while they’re young (and) get them addicted for their whole life. I would just say, nicotine is nicotine.”

Contact Alexander Cramer at alexander.cramer@wcinet.com.