CAPITAN, N.M. (KRQE) – The e-cigarettes and vaping epidemic is out of control at schools everywhere, but one New Mexico district isn’t just confiscating the devices and suspending the students anymore. Now, they’re having them charged with a crime.
“E-cigarettes have been a fast-growing problem down here,” says Capitan Village Police Chief, Randy Spear.
In the past year, the e-cigs have been showing up too often at Capitan Middle and High School. “These kids are hooked on it. They love them,” Spear says.
Spear says when students are caught with an e-cigarette on campus, the district will give them a warning. After that warning, police are called in to criminally charge students who continue to bring the e-cigarettes on campus.
“I think we wound up with six students that we caught up on campus with the e-cigarettes,” says Spear.
Only four weeks into the new school year, another student has been charged. Thursday, a 17-year old was hit with a misdemeanor for having the e-cig and the nicotine juice that goes in it.
“The school conducted a search of the student’s backpack. In there they found the vape cigarette, charger,” says Spear.
Those students caught with an e-cig on campus are also faced with in-school suspension.