By Joe Morey
The Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board (TGB) passed a resolution to codify the banning of electronic smoking devices at all tribal buildings and businesses located within the Reservation boundaries.
A previous resolution was passed as far back as 2019, but the recent TGB action allows tribal law enforcement to issue citations for individuals who violate the code. The citations are in the amount of $100 per violation.
The resolution, No. 2023-43, bans the possession, use or distribution of smoking devices and vaping-related products on any tribal buildings, commercial properties and educational facilities.
The LCO Ojibwe School superintendent, Jessica “Hutch” Hutchison, reported to the TGB that the school is experiencing a high number of vaping incidents on school grounds. A notice was issued following the recent TGB action stating vaping on school grounds is prohibited.
“Any person found to be in possession of a vaping device will receive a citation from the LCO Police Department in the amount of $100.00 in addition to disciplinary action,” the notice states. “As a further notice, students that violate the school and tribal vaping ban will be subject to the following:
-Out of school suspension for 9 school days; Referral to Law Enforcement-Tribal and/or County;
-Mandatory Alcohol and other Drug Assessment/Counseling;
-Long term/permanent loss of bus riding privileges if found vaping on buses.
These vaping ban actions have been taken due to the adverse health effects related to use of these devices to protect the health of its tribal membership, including the youth.
Tribal Chairman Louis Taylor said the health of all Lac Courte Oreilles members must be safeguarded from potentially harmful and unsafe products and by keeping these products off the store shelves at LCO tribal retail outlets and preventing their use on tribal property, the tribe is taking the necessary and important steps to keep our children and our community safe and to prevent exposing our people to these dangerous chemicals in the future.
“The increasing number of lung injury cases we see associated with e-cigarette use, or vaping, is deeply concerning. Unfortunately, this may be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the escalating health threat this outbreak poses to the American public, particularly youth and young adults. CDC will continue to work with FDA and state health partners to investigate the cause, or causes, of this outbreak and to bring an end to these lung injuries.” – Dr. Robert R. Redfield, MD, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.