Our nation is facing a youth e-cigarette epidemic. Last year alone, there was a 78% increase in high school kids vaping, and according to preliminary data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, 27.5% of youth are now using e-cigarettes. This dramatic increase in vaping places youths’ developing lungs at risk of irreversible lung damage and disease and sets them up for a lifetime of addiction to tobacco products. The American Lung Association is offering schools new resources to deal with this urgent issue, including a new program to support and educate students about the risks of e-cigarette use as an alternative to school suspension.
“The American Lung Association is alarmed about the youth e-cigarette epidemic. Kids are vaping in the bathroom and classrooms, leaving schools desperate for ways to address this emerging issue, especially in light of recent vaping-related hospitalizations,” said American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold Wimmer. “As the nation’s premier resource for lung health, the American Lung Association warns the public that e-cigarettes are not safe, and we are providing schools with resources to address this epidemic.”
Instead of solely focusing on punitive measures,INDEPTHTMis an interactive program that teaches teens about nicotine dependence, establishing healthy alternatives and how to beat tobacco addiction. Taught by a trained adult facilitator, each session addresses a different tobacco-related issue and can be facilitated either one-on-one or in a group setting in schools or community-based organizations.
After completing INDEPTHTM, 60% of student participants reported that they were willing to quit using tobacco products after completing the program.
In addition, as a natural complement to INDEPTHTM, schools seeking to implement teen tobacco cessation programs can sign up for the American Lung Association's Not On Tobacco (N-O-T) program, a voluntary teen-centered cessation program inclusive in addressing all tobacco product use, including e-cigarettes.
“Virtually all e-cigarettes contain the highly addictive element nicotine. In fact, one JUUL pod contains more nicotine than found in an entire pack of cigarettes,” Wimmer said. “The answer to youth tobacco addiction is not suspension but education. Provide teens with the resources they need to live tobacco-free lives. The American Lung Association is making strong strides to address the youth e-cigarette epidemic through advocacy, research and awareness, and stands ready to help schools address, reduce and prevent youth vaping.”
Schools can sign up for INDEPTHTMand N-O-T at Lung.org/indepth. More information about e-cigarettes and lung health can be found at Lung.org/ecigs, including resources to help prevent teens from starting and to help them quit.
For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health and e-cigarette use, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.