Red Deer community peace officers will enforce a smoking bylaw at high schools in an effort to curb student vaping.
Local schools are experiencing an increase in the number of students vaping, or using electronic cigarettes, a city press release said Thursday.
The city is partnering with Red Deer Public Schools, Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools and Ecole La Prairie to enforce vaping.
Under the city’s smoke-free bylaw, vaping is prohibited in public spaces and workplaces, and within 10 metres of playgrounds, seasonal skating rinks, skate parks, sports fields, water spray parks or toboggan hills.
“People in public spaces, including workplaces, are entitled to a safe environment and vaping puts others at risk,” said municipal policing services manager Scott Tod.
Darwin Roscoe, Hunting Hills High School principal, said student vaping has reached “epidemic proportions” among Red Deer youth.
“Not only have our schools seen a significant increase in students using vaping products, it now ranks as the No. 1 reason for student suspensions,” said Roscoe.
Rose McQuay, of Ecole Secondaire Notre Dame High School, said “we are seeing students from all grade levels using vaping products.
“With all high schools in Red Deer partnering with the City of Red Deer, we hope it will continue to educate our students on the health implications of tobacco and vaping,” said McQuay.
City enforcement will issue tickets to anyone, including students, caught violating the bylaw.
Students caught vaping on school property by a bylaw officer or RCMP officer will receive a ticket, with the following fines: $200 for the first offence; $500 for the second offence; up to $2,500 for the third offence.
Red Deer Catholic and Red Deer Public students will also receive suspensions in addition to the fine.