BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Boardman High School’s principal said she believes a new law prohibiting anyone under the age of 21 from buying nicotine products may prevent more high school kids from starting smoking.
Ohio’s new law aims to keep teens from getting addicted when they’re most influenced by it.
Friday, Boardman High School held its “Yes Fest.”
It’s similar to the “Say No to Drugs and Alcohol” program, but this program focuses on the positive life choices that kids can say “yes” to instead.
When the “Say No to Drugs and Alcohol,” otherwise known as the DARE program, started, it included cigarettes, too.
Boardman High School Principal Cynthia Fernback had been in the school system for over 20 years. She said in the ’90s, you’d see kids sneaking to the bathrooms to smoke cigarettes. Now, that’s been almost completely removed from the schools, but it has reemerged in the form of vaping.
Fernback said this new law is a good thing for the schools. It signifies it’s not for those students who may sometimes be in that 18-year-old range.
“When you have that gray area of 18, and you have 18-year-olds in the build, the proximity of privilege is very close to high school kids, and I think it makes it easier to reach for it,” she said. “Moving it up to 21 gets it out of my building all the way. It’s not in this building for anyone.”
Boardman High School’s Yes Fest doesn’t just focus on cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. Over the last several years, the district has brought in volunteer opportunities for students.
This year, they’re not only showing kids how they can volunteer but also career options.
“We started out with the premise of just say no to drugs, but we realized that just say no to drugs created sort of a vacuum in a child’s life, so, ‘OK, I’ve said no to drugs. What should I say ‘Yes’ to?'” Fernback said.