American Lung Association Announces Robust Plan To End Youth Vaping for Pennsylvania Students, Parents, SchoolsComprehensive plan to address youth vaping includes ‘Get Your Head Out of the Cloud’ national awareness campaign with the Ad Council, Vape-Free Schools Initiative, advocacy, groundbreaking research
Philadelphia, PA | September 2, 2020
In Pennsylvania, 24.4% of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Vaping harms developing lungs and overall health and may place people at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Now, when protecting lung health is more important than ever, the American Lung Association today 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 American Lung Association Division Senior Director, State Advocacy Lance Boucher. “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 Pennsylvania 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:
- “Get Your Head Out of the Cloud” public awareness campaign with the Ad Council equips parents with the facts about e-cigarettes and support conversations before kids start to vape. The campaign includes free educational resources and guides, conversation starters and facts about vaping at TalkAboutVaping.org.
- Vape-Free Schools Initiative to help school administrators and educators address the surge of youth vaping through guidance in implementing a comprehensive tobacco use policy, an alternative to suspension program for students found non-compliant with existing tobacco use policies, as well as offering a voluntary youth-centered tobacco cessation, 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 with parents and staff.
- Targeted advocacy plan to advance proven e-cigarette policies at the local, state and federal level and maintain at least the current level of funding for the Pennsylvania Department of Health for comprehensive tobacco prevention and control programs.
- $2 million research investment to understand the effects of vaping on developing lungs. The organization is also partnering with Northwestern Medicine in a $25 million National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded grant to study the longitudinal lung health of millennials, including the long-term impact of vaping.
TRU ambassador comments on the plan to end youth vaping:
“Vape Free Initiatives should be in schools because many teenagers vaping have no idea of the dangers involved. These initiatives are excellent opportunities for educating teens and stopping them from developing a dangerous habit,” said Anastasia Groden, 15, Hatboro Horsham High School in Horsham PA student and TRU ambassador.
“Vaping has negatively affected my friends’ lives. No matter how badly they want to stop, it’s really hard for them because they crave nicotine. Vaping has also caused many of my friends who vape to develop a cough and with the pandemic, people assume it’s the virus” said Emily Calder, TRU ambassador and Riverside Jr. Sr. High School student in Scranton, PA. “I believe schools should be 100% vape-free because they are a place of learning; vaping not only disrupts your own learning but also the students around you. That’s why I think this Vape-Free Schools Initiative is so important.”
“Nicotine is a very addictive substance which is not missed by the tobacco industry as they are fully aware that if they hook our youth, they will most likely have lifetime customers. We stand to lose another generation to tobacco if something isn’t done NOW,” said American Lung Association South Central Local Leadership Board Member and TRU Advisor Eric Rothermel. “The Lung Association has been a leader in tobacco prevention and cessation efforts with their many programs and resources – the campaign connects the dots with education, research, advocacy and research. If we as educators, parents, legislators and the community all work together to end this epidemic, we can meet the challenge to protect our youth and future generations.”
Editor’s Note: *Rothermel is a tobacco control professional in the South Central Pennsylvania, and works as a TRU advisor, N-O-T and INDEPTH program facilitator, Freedom From Smoking facilitator and is a program director at the Harrisburg YMCA.
For more information about the American Lung Association’s work to end youth vaping, visit TalkAboutVaping.org Journalists seeking to schedule a media interview with lung health and tobacco experts, or TRU advisor Eric Rothermel, or TRU ambassador Emily Calder, contact Val Gleason at [email protected] or 717-971-1123 and cell 302-275-2277.
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, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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