ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury High School has designated Oct. 8 as a “day to ditch vaping” in the school, according to the district.

The idea came from a group of teachers in an anti-vaping committee that was organized in the spring by Roxbury High School Assistant Principal Jon Deeb. The committee is hoping its efforts will dissuade students from the practice.

“We are organizing a day of education and awareness,” Deeb said.

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He noted that Roxbury High School art teacher Renee Zengel, whom he described as “a catalyst” for the committee, suggested patterning the school’s anti-vaping day after a similar effort being pushed by the anti-tobacco organization Truth, which designated Oct. 9 as “a day to ditch vaping.”

“They are calling it #ditchjuul since they are more specifically targeting that company (JUUL),” Deeb said. “We are going to springboard off of their day and make Oct. 8 our day to help our kids since we’re closed on the 9th.”

Mayor Also Concerned

The topic of underaged vaping was raised by Roxbury Mayor Bob DeFillippo at the Sept. 24 Roxbury Mayor and Council meeting. He asked Roxbury Township Manager John Shepherd to “look into the sale of vaping products around Roxbury,” noting that “a number of communities … have considered how to address vaping especially vaping by underage students.”

Roxbury Township Counsel Anthony Bucco said the state Legislature has enacted regulations and laws related to sale of vaping products. He said a local measure by Roxbury would likely be “something preempted by state law,” but he agreed to “look to see if there is any leeway” that would allow Roxbury to do something on its own “inside” the state measures.

DeFillippo also asked Shepherd to contact the school district to see if some type of coordinated effort was possible.

“It (vaping) does seem to be kind of a health risk that I don’t think we should ignore,” said the mayor. “And if we can do anything in Roxbury - at least to prevent especially young people from having access to vaping products - then I think we need to take that initiative”

Urged to Make Healthy Choices

The school district characterized its creation of the anti-vaping committee and the upcoming anti-vaping day as examples it is “taking an active approach to getting its students to stop.”

It said students will be encouraged to wear orange on Oct. 8. Orange is the color being used by the #ditchjuul effort, it explained.

“On the afternoon of Oct. 7, the committee and some of the high school students will hang up colorful and informative posters about vaping that are being designed by the teachers and students,” the district said. “The posters will be in the restrooms and on bulletin boards in the hallways for the student body to look at when they arrive at school on the 8th.”

On Oct. 8, students will be urged to sign-in to the Truth website and take pledges they will not vape, said the district. “Every student that takes the pledge will receive an orange silicone bracelet with #knowthetruth on it,” it said.

Deeb said the anti-vaping committee has other ideas it hopes to “organize and execute” by Oct 8. “We are hoping the timing is right - with all of the negative publicity about vaping - that we impact some of our students to make healthy choices,” he said.

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