The American Lung Association is supporting its Vape Free Schools Initiative to eliminate vaping among youth, especially in middle and high schools across the United States.
1 in 4 teens has vaped, according to the association. Middle and high school students used e-cigarettes through a population totalling at 5.4 million in 2019, which prompts the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office to call this uptake in youth vaping as an epidemic.
The Vape Free Schools Initiative is helping to navigate the public health emergency related to vaping, including the protections and support of both schools and students.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaping among youth has declined since 2019. The uptake declined, especially, during the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns related to being at greater risk of contracting the novel virus disease.
“The nicotine levels in the vaping devices and products many times is significantly higher than what is even stated on the label,” said Jennifer Folkenroth, the National Senior Director of Tobacco Programs with the American Lung Association, in a statement provided to WTOP, a radio news outlet in Washington, D.C. “These are tobacco products. Don’t let the disguise fool you.”
WTOP reported on January 9 the initiative is a crucial development in promoting the decline in youth vaping. According to the same report, Folkenroth said that younger people are vulnerable to addictive properties, including the nicotine, found in these vaping products.
“It is really important that parents are educated and aware,” said Folkenroth. “Before they even have the conversation with the teen, knowing the facts, putting themselves into their child’s shoes and taking an open and calm approach.”
For schools to join the initiative, school and district personnel, or designated community partners, must complete a training and policy assessment program to be admitted into the program. As far as Vaping Post can tell, the initiative or its educational programming doesn’t deal with tobacco harm reduction content or science.