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In an effort to stamp out smoking by minors, an Indiana school district is considering a proposal that would punish minors caught with tobacco products on school property.
As part of the plan, the Vigo County School Board would have school police automatically ticket minors caught with tobacco. The students would then have to appear in court and face a fine of up to $500.
Terre Haute students would also face suspensions, up to 10 days for multiple offenses. School officials believe that a court appearance and fine would take care of most of the problems.
The proposal mirrors a nationwide trend by local municipalities to punish minors for possessing tobacco products. Similar measures have already passed throughout Massachusetts and Virginia and have also been introduced in New York and California.
The convenience store industry has long promoted a shared-responsibility approach to attacking teen smoking. However, most state and federal laws simply target retailers for selling tobacco minors, often allowing teen perpetrators to walk away with little more than a slap on the wrist.