Nationally, more than one in four high school students use e-cigarettes, exposing them to harmful chemicals and setting them up for a lifetime of nicotine dependence.
Vaping harms developing lungs and overall health, and may place people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Now, when protecting lung health is more important than ever, the American Lung Association has announced a broad plan to end youth vaping.
“As we prepare for the school year to resume, more students may experience social pressure to vape, while others may begin to vape in response to stress, including stress related to COVID-19,” said Deborah Brown, American Lung Association chief mission officer “We’re already facing what the surgeon general refers to as a youth vaping epidemic. Our communities need support, and as the nation’s trusted champion of lung health, the American Lung Association is proud to offer Delaware schools, parents and students proven approaches to end youth vaping in our communities and state.”
The American Lung Association’s comprehensive plan to end youth vaping encompasses education, advocacy and research, and has four components:
The Get Your Head Out of the Cloud public awareness campaign with the Ad Council equips parents with the facts about e-cigarettes and supports conversations before kids start to vape. The campaign includes free educational resources and guides, conversation starters and facts about vaping at TalkAboutVaping.org.
The Vape-Free Schools Initiative helps school administrators and educators address the surge of youth vaping through guidance in implementing a comprehensive tobacco-use policy and an alternative-to-suspension program for students found noncompliant with existing tobacco-use policies. It also offers a voluntary youth-centered tobacco cessation program, including vaping cessation assistance, for youth wanting to quit tobacco use for good. Participating schools will be recognized as part of the American Lung Association Vape-Free Schools Initiative in their communities, and among parents and staff.
A targeted advocacy plan will advance proven e-cigarette policies at local, state and federal levels including addressing youth tobacco use by removing all flavored tobacco products from the market.
A $2 million research investment will provide an understanding of the effects of vaping on developing lungs. The organization is also partnering with Northwestern Medicine in a $25 million National Institutes of Health-funded grant to study the longitudinal lung health of millennials, including the long-term impact of vaping.
To view the Get Your Head Out of the Cloud video, go to www.youtube.com.
“We need to make sure that youth in my generation and many more to come are able to live free and happy away from lung cancer and many other lung-related diseases. We have to stand up together and fight the tobacco companies and stop them from targeting us as their next generation of tobacco and tobacco product users. In order to end the youth vaping epidemic, it’s really important to have prevention and cessation plans like this that connect schools, parents and students,” said Julian Santiago, Kick Butt Generation statewide chair and a junior at Hodgson Vo-Tech High School in Wilmington.
For more information, go to TalkAboutVaping.org.