The vaping cloud has engulfed an increasing number of American teen vape for more than ten years.
Now that the new academic year of anti vaping has begun, health professionals and educators are capitalizing on prior advancements as they engage in the most recent phase of the vaping war.
The implications of using electronic cigarettes on your health are still being studied, but they are starting to become apparent.
Evidence suggests that teenagers who vape today might smoke later, which is alarming given the years of the tremendous progress made in lowering young cigarette smoking. According to a scientific statement by the American Heart Association, e-cigarette users may have a higher chance of developing asthma. E-cigarette use can also cause respiratory conditions, stiffer arteries, increased blood pressure, as well as difficulty sleeping. Furthermore, there may be risks from merely breathing secondhand vapor, which is what happens when you are around somebody who is vaping.
These worries are made worse by the fact that vaping is practically ubiquitous among young people.
About 60% of middle and high schoolers who participated in a national poll conducted in 2021 stated that their friend’s usage of e-cigarettes inspired them to try them for the first time. Youth most frequently obtained e-cigarettes through friends. Another frequent source was family.
Educating children on the dangers of vaping
The 2021–22 school year witnessed a decrease in teen vaping locally, according to Jackie Michalski, the class assistant principal at Shenendehowa High School East in Clifton Park, New York.
“As greater attention has been paid to it, there has clearly been a decline,” she asserted.
She has encouraged their students to increase awareness together with her coworkers. Parents and children have attended instructional presentations at the school that stress the possible physical and psychological risks of smoking e-cigarettes as well as other tobacco products.
Local authorities provided parents with guidance on how to recognize indicators of drug use around the home and to keep an eye out for changes in attitude or mood. Additionally, those who vape can be thirstier and more prone to nosebleeds. Or, even if they never see the discreet goods, which don’t emit smoke like regular cigarettes, parents might sense an unidentified perfume.
The approach has started to change from being punitive to be helpful for students who are detected using e-cigarettes at school. Whereas a one-day suspension used to be the norm, educators now frequently involve parents and recommend the student to a counselor who will engage with the student and inform the parents about addictive substances and helpful techniques to help them stop using them. According to Michalski, the counselors are a component of the team approach that is available.
Additionally, Shenendehowa High tested a program in which those who discovered vaping were required to read news articles and view videos on the subject before writing a brief essay on what they had learned and how they could handle peer pressure better.
The ultimate objective, according to Michalski, is to alter behavior. “We want to convey to the student that vaping has serious negative health repercussions, can cause addiction, and may result in future drug usage.”
Additionally, several national anti vaping campaigns have as their main goal changing behavior; these campaigns have so far shown some success in study. These consist of:
- smoke SCREENING.Developed by Yale University researchers, smokeSCREEN is a video game that informs children about the risks associated with e-cigarettes and other tobacco products in an effort to encourage them to abstain from use completely.
- This is Quitting.This is Quitting, a program created by the public health charity Truth Initiative automatically sends texts from peers who have tried or succeeded in quitting e-cigarettes to individuals ages 13 to 24 years on a daily basis.
- CATCH My Breath.CATCH My Breath, which was created at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, provides parent education as well as classroom lectures with discussion forums, goal-setting, and group exercises. A digital portal offers teaching aids, presentations, as well as posters made for various age groups to schools, some of which are free and others that are paid for.
Additionally, the FDA and a publishing house have collaborated to develop a number of anti-vaping educational materials for teachers.
The AHA-funded research at Boston University’s Rapidly Advancing Discovery to Arrest the Outbreak of Youth Vaping Center is focused on creating and testing a virtual reality strategy to assist high schoolers in abstaining from or quitting vaping. Belinda Borrelli, the project’s primary investigator, and her colleagues have spent a lot of time working with high school students to understand their opinions on existing quit-vaping programs and how to create new, appealing ones. The group is utilizing its data to create a cutting-edge virtual reality solution that will be used in classrooms.
She said, “It’s crucial to engage kids in the intervention regardless of their reasons for giving up.”
The FDA’s June order to Juul Labs to halt selling and distributing its devices, citing a lack of information about possible health concerns, seemed to give the anti-vaping campaigns of educators, parents, advocates, and public health officials a boost. Administratively and legally, that action has been on hold for the meantime.
According to Michalski, it’s good news if teen-favorite Juul products are eventually taken off the market. “I believe it would be beneficial if e-cigarettes were made less readily available,” he said.
Dr. Naomi Hamburg, the principal investigator, and director of BU’s juvenile vaping research center emphasized the importance of strong regulation at the federal, state, and local levels as a means of reducing the usage of all tobacco products.
“We need to think about comprehensive public health policies for regulation that will reduce combustible cigarette smoking as the No. 1 aim and limit or stop” all nicotine product use among young people, she said.