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  1. #1
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    The Youth Vaping Epidemic

    2019 June Feature The Youth Vaping Epidemic 410
    How park and recreation agencies are helping to fight e-cigarette use among America’s teens
    “Vaping is considered cool in my group of friends,” says one female teen, who was just 13 years old the first time she began vaping. “It might just be the fact that you’re doing the things you know you shouldn’t be doing.” This high school student represents a mere handful of real California youth who shared their real-life experiences using e-cigarettes and other vaping products for a public service video produced by Tobacco Free California, in an effort to discourage others from following in their footsteps. However, this problem among today’s youth is not exclusive to the Golden State or the West Coast. It’s a frightening scenario playing out in towns all across America.

    Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable illness, attributing to more than 480,000 deaths in the United States each year. Research data from the “2018 National Youth Survey” conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that e-cigarette use among high school youth rose by an astounding 78 percent from 2017 to 2018, while more than 1 million additional teens began using e-cigarettes in the past year. Acknowledging these startling figures, the U.S. Surgeon General declared vaping a youth epidemic.

    This nationwide crisis has prompted park agencies across the country to partner with their public health agencies to sound the alarm about youth vaping by educating parents, preteens and teens about the negative health outcomes associated with e-cigarette use, as well as the added risk of second-hand smoke exposure. They are also working with their city officials to establish smoke- and tobacco-free park policies.



    What Are Electronic Cigarettes?
    Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-operated devices that release doses of vaporized nicotine, or non-nicotine solutions, that users inhale. Although companies market these products to adults as aids to reduce or quit smoking, recent studies suggest a single vape pod contains as much nicotine as a full pack of cigarettes. The term “vaping” refers to the use of e-cigarettes or vaporizers.

    E-cigarettes are a $2.5 billion industry with more than 460 different e-cigarette brands, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Common nicknames for these products include e-cigs, e-hookahs, hookah pens, vapes, vape pens and mods, which are more powerful, customizable vaporizers. The most popular among these brands is JUUL, which sells an e-cigarette device that resembles a USB flash drive.

    E-cigarettes and other tobacco products pose many health risks to youth. They contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including formaldehyde and acrolein, which can cause irreversible lung damage. They also contain nicotine, which has addictive properties. Other studies show these products can affect brain development in youth.



    Health Advocates vs. the FDA
    Three years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began regulating sales, marketing and production of these products, especially as they relate to youth. By 2018, the agency proposed strict rules that would ban retailers from selling menthol cigarettes and flavored vaping products. What’s more, the FDA commissioner at the time, Scott Gottlieb, called for additional measures for prohibiting companies from marketing e-cigarettes directly to youth via the internet. However, health advocates contend the agency hasn’t done enough.

    In the American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control 2019 report, the nonprofit gives the FDA an “F” grade. “The FDA regulation grade has a few components,” notes Thomas Carr, national director of policy, the American Lung Association. He says the FDA hasn’t moved forward with the prohibition of menthol-flavored tobacco products, which is one reason for the failing grade. “The fact that the FDA hasn’t regulated tobacco products in an adequate way is another reason why,” Carr continues. “But overall, it’s just been a lack of action in general.”

    He also notes that the slow pace at which the FDA seems to be moving on tobacco control isn’t solely reflective of Trump Administration policies. “I think the FDA under the Obama Administration dragged its feet as well on this,” he says. “Back in 2011, [the FDA] said it was going to regulate e-cigarette tobacco products, and then it took the agency until 2016 to get a final rule in place that would allow the FDA to actually do that. I think just that delay alone hurt our ability to respond to the youth e-cigarette epidemic we’re seeing now.”

    Despite the Lung Association’s admonishment of the federal government, Carr says “The Real Cost” Youth E-cigarette Prevention campaign is “the one bright spot for the FDA.” This newly launched marketing campaign includes a partnership between the FDA and school districts nationwide to spread the word about the harmful effects of e-cigarettes to teens using various marketing tools, including posters. Some movement also has been occurring in Congress. On May 20, 2019, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced a bipartisan bill co-written with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), raising the national legal age to buy tobacco products to 21.



    Spreading the Word
    When tackling the youth vaping epidemic head on, most park agencies recognize the complexities of this important issue and acknowledge they can’t do it alone — the same could be said for public health departments in cities across the country. Kelsey Fife, health promotions specialist at Mesa County Public Health in Colorado, knows this all too well, especially when examining the numbers.

    According to a survey conducted on high school-aged youth in Mesa County, about 50 percent of high school youth admit they’ve tried vaping and approximately 30 percent said they’ve used an e-cigarette or other electronic vaping product in the past 30 days. “That’s a lot higher than what we see with other tobacco products,” says Fife, “and the second-most tried and used substance of all of them after alcohol.” Even more startling, only 45 percent of those Mesa County high school students believe vape products are harmful, while 60 percent said, if they wanted to, they could obtain these products easily or very easily.

    She adds that those findings made this a community-wide issue and “was a key reason I was interested in doing education in our community.” Thus, Mesa County Public Health — with the assistance of a state-funded grant program called Communities That Care — collaborated with a number of local agencies to address this growing problem and to discuss how to educate parents and youth about the harmful effects of vaping and smoking. One of those agencies included the city of Fruita (Colorado) Parks & Recreation.

    “[Mesa County Public Health] approached us and we agreed to be a partner with them, and we’ve been working through the Communities That Care process,” says Ture Nycum, parks and recreation director, city of Fruita. Communities That Care is a program, funded by marijuana tax dollars, that brings together community members to thwart problem behaviors and adverse health outcomes, such as substance misuse, among youth grades six through 12.

    Nycum notes that his agency’s partnership with the Communities That Care program led to the Fruita Youth Initiative in the city. “Part of that is to really look at our environment and look at some of our ordinances and the laws we have on the books, as well as just looking at what’s happening in our community regarding substance use around youth,” he explains. “When we were looking at that, we noticed we didn’t really have anything that addressed smoking as well as vaping use within our park system. So, that’s when we looked at updating our smoking ordinance [through] the Fruita Youth Initiative.”

    In December 2018, The Daily Sentinel reported the Fruita City Council voted 5–1 to ban smoking of any substance — which includes using vaporizers or electronic cigarettes — in any city-owned park, recreational facility or open space.

    Nycum admits that his agency hasn’t witnessed a high rate of vaping among youth in his parks, however, he contends: “We figure if we can address it community-wide, that’ll definitely help reduce it within the park system and in public spaces.”

    And since Fruita was updating its park policy around smoking and vaping, Fife says: “We wanted to provide some information to the community members on the ‘why,’ particularly…because…vaping is so new to people and very much a hot topic now. So, we wanted to back up their policy with some education.”

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    108

    Re: The Youth Vaping Epidemic

    What’s wrong with vaping? It is definitely not worse than smoking and drinking, but provokes too much negative hype around itself (as for me, I gave up smoking exactly thanks to vaping and Stiiizy Biiig starter kit).

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  5. #5
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    Oct 2018
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    Re: The Youth Vaping Epidemic

    Serenity addiction treatment is based on addiction severity index assessment which enable individual diagnosis of patients. This customized addiction treatment helps to provide the best treatment.

 

 

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