American Lung Association Announces Robust Plan To End Youth Vaping for Rhode Island 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
Providence, RI | September 1, 2020
In Rhode Island, 30.1% 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 kids prepare to head back to school, 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 director of advocacy in Rhode Island Jen Wall. “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 Rhode Island 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 local, state and federal levels. In Connecticut, key priorities include restoring state funding for tobacco prevention to which it currently contributes $0, removing flavored tobacco products from shelves and addressing loopholes in the clean indoor air laws.
- $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.
Sean Palumbo, a recent graduate of Mt. Hope High School, is a student advocate for tobacco-free school policies. He was successful in having his regional high school, which serves students from both Bristol and Warren Rhode Island, add e-cigarettes to their policy, as well as adopt enforcement procedures. He said "Too many of my peers are using e-cigarettes - and schools need more tools to keep students off these dangerous products. Educating kids about e-cigarettes, giving them more access to quit programs, and strong policies that keep all tobacco products off school grounds will go a long way to improving the health of my entire generation."
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 may contact Jennifer Solomon at 516-680-8927 or [email protected]
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.
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