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Ordinance change could allow Carmel police to ticket adult students for vaping on campus

CARMEL, Ind. – It could be another way to stop vaping on school grounds. The Carmel City Council is looking to change a smoking ordinance to allow police officers to give tickets to students 18 years or older who are caught vaping on campus.

Carmel police officer Shane VanNatter presented in front of the council on Monday night and asked the members to consider making a change.

Right now, officers cannot give tickets to adult students. During the meeting, VanNatter said the current ordinance does not include e-cigarettes and does not list schools as a public place.

He said he's written more than 25 citations this school year at Carmel High School for e-cigarettes. That does not include the 1,004 adult students at the high school.

Officer VanNatter's colleague, Sergeant DJ Schoeff, said adult students could potentially supply the product to younger students. He stressed that tickets are the last option but officers do think it would prevent students from using these potentially addictive products.

"Some of our kids are coming to us at 18 and saying I am addicted," said Schoeff. "It certainly is something we would be able to do to give them resources and put them in places to help them out."

The penalty is not cheap. Students would go to court and could face a fine as much as $500. Carmel Council President Jeff Worrell said the presentation on Monday night was eye-opening. Worrell was concerned about vaping in schools.

"I do believe this ordinance would give our officers the tools they need in order to help guide," said Worrell.

The police department wants to help these students get the help they need. They noted the lack of recovery centers in Indiana for young adults addicted to nicotine.

"How can we wrap our arms around our youth to help them grow?" asked Schoeff.

The Finance, Utilities and Rules Committee in Carmel will consider the changes during a meeting on June 10.

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