Amid mounting concern over health risks of vaping, especially among teens, Breathe New Hampshire has received a $22,000 grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to support Vaping Unveiled, a program to educate communities about growing public health concerns. The 2017 Youth Risk Behavioral Survey showed that more than 41% of NH students have used a vape device.
“Breathe New Hampshire is pleased to receive this generous support from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, as our organization is working hard to address a public health threat that has quickly become an epidemic among young people,” says Daniel Fortin, president and CEO.
In 2018, about 4.9 million middle and high school students were current users (used in past 30 days) of some type of tobacco product, up from 3.6 million in 2017. This increase has effectively erased past gains in reducing youth tobacco product use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vaping Unveiled gives an overview of electronic cigarettes and vaping, emphasizing the effects of nicotine on developing brains and lungs, reviews the disturbing trends of newer devices, and looks at the health impact of long-term tobacco use. Audiences have included middle and high schools, medical professionals, parents, educators, and the public.
“Nicotine use at a young age not only disrupts the formation of brain circuits that control attention and learning, but it also puts kids at risk for developing a full-blown nicotine addiction before they’ve graduated high school,” says Traci Fowler, senior program officer at the Charitable Foundation. “We’re fortunate to have an organization like Breathe New Hampshire on the ground working with schools to keep our kids healthy.”
Vapes are also seen as gateways to traditional tobacco products and many devices resemble common school items such as flash drives, makeup, or pens, which makes them harder to identify and easier for students to use in class.