Vaping Epidemic in Schools: Plumas Public Health Agency Tackles Youth Tobacco Use

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An Epidemic is growing within your student’s Schools: Vaping and E-Cigarettes Harming Students’ Health.

Regina Martinez, with Plumas Public Health Agency’s Tobacco Use Reduction Program, says they are working diligently to combat the growing problem among the community’s youngest through the state-funded program, which uses the sales tax from tobacco sales to conduct community outreach, educate the community’s youth, and provide services for those in search of help quitting tobacco.

Regina says despite what many believe, the vaping epidemic has a significant misconception that teens are accessing tobacco through online avenues, yet it could be farther from the truth. She explained that students are walking into local stores and purchasing these items freely without the help of an adult. Regina says merchants need to be vigilant about carding everyone purchasing tobacco products to curb the sale of vapes, chew, and e-cigs to minors. Federal law requires a person to be age 21 to purchase such products.

Regina says the problem runs much deeper than within the high schools. Tobacco use has infiltrated middle schools and even elementary students. Collaboratively, with student involvement, the tobacco-free program takes a unique perspective. Rather than labeling students as “bad,” the program emphasizes how “Big Tobacco” is targeting the youth through flavored products, which carry highly addictive substances and chemicals.

Regina says due to these highly addictive additives found in vapes; a student can get addicted when experimenting with tobacco in only a few tries.

Shocking facts Regina shared from a recent Parents Against Vaping training at Stanford reveals that 2.1 million teens are vaping in middle and high schools, with 1 in 4 using e-cigarettes daily and 90% of those using flavored tobacco.

Regina remains hopeful that school involvement, including presenting information during school-held events and sharing with the community what is happening, Public health will continue to educate parents and provide the resources they need to help their students quit tobacco and end the epidemic of tobacco use among children.

Information on the Tobacco Use Reduction Program is available on the Plumas Public Health website and Kick it California, a state-sponsored resource website.

 

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