First, let’s explore the term “vaping” and what it really means. The technical term for vaping is Electronic Nicotine Delivery System. This is a term that refers to devices such as vape pens, pods, tanks, mods, and electronic cigarettes. According to a recent study, in the U.S., 27.5% of high school students use vape products (The Truth Initiative, 2019). Vaping may be happening in school or at home, and as educators, we need to start having discussions with students surrounding this topic. E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive drug and contains dangerous chemicals. What is worrisome is that there are serious health effects to vaping and it has been linked to heart disease and lung disease. There are multiple reasons why teens may vape, and to name a few, around 61% of teens who vape do it “to experiment,” 42% because they like the taste, 38% to have a good time, 37% to relieve tension, and 29% to feel good or get high. (Monitoring the Future, 2019)1

This research supports the need for students to develop core knowledge around the dangers associated with e-cigarettes and recognize the impacts it can have on their current lives and future. There are vaping prevention strategies that educators can use in the classroom to help guide students in making healthier choices and prevent high school vaping.

Ensure Students Gain Knowledge of Vaping Products

It’s important for students to understand what vaping products are made up of and their ingredients. According to the National Institute of Drug and Abuse, a majority of teens that vape just think flavoring is in their e-cigarette.2 Students need to build an understanding of what is actually being consumed when they use vaping products (ex. diacetyl, propylene glycol, lead). Gaining knowledge on the topic will give them a broader understanding of chemicals that they would be inhaling and allow them to engage in conversations with peers about vaping products.

Discussing Myths vs. Facts of Vaping and E-Cigarettes

Some e-cigarette companies have been marketing false advertising claims that students and users need to be aware of.3 Young adults need to learn about e-cigarette companies’ advertising schemes and the myths that vaping is a “safe activity” or “safer option than smoking”. CDC recommends that vaping products should never be used by youths and young adults. The CDC also mentions that if adults are using both cigarettes and e-cigarettes simultaneously, adults’ goals should be to quit using tobacco products completely, including e-cigarettes.4

Analyzing the Effects of Vaping in High School

Having discussions with high school students about the effects of vaping can allow them to understand how it can affect their health. Not only can this discussion about the negative effects of vaping be a preventative strategy, but discussing healthier decisions with students can allow them to find a solution to a problem they may be facing. For example, some reasons why people may use e-cigarettes are to relax or because they are bored.5 In this case, teaching students mindfulness and stress-reducing strategies introduced as healthy alternatives to students can lead to the same result.

Many young people also reported that they are vaping every day or nearly daily, underscoring the highly addictive nature of nicotine. The scale of the problem is clear, and the science of Vaping: Know the truth is a new national youth vaping prevention program created with Truth Initiative, in collaboration with Kaiser Permanente and the American Heart Association, to educate students about the health dangers of e-cigarette use. This free digital learning experience is part of Truth Initiative’s nationally recognized truth campaign. In addition to encouraging students to live vape-free lives, this self-led, interactive curriculum offers resources to help young people who are currently using e-cigarettes to quit through Truth’s first-of-its-kind text message youth quit vaping program. This is Quitting is already helping over 300,0006 youth and young adults on their journeys to quit.

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