by Marcella Bianco
(NAPS)-According to recent research by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2 million middle- and high-school students use e-cigarettes. With the study conducted fully during the COVID-19 pandemic, this places U.S. youth in a pandemic and an epidemic.
Nicotine hurts the developing brain and this addiction can lead to others. What’s more, vaping increases a person’s chance of experiencing complica-tions from upper respiratory illnesses, and some researchers believe a relationship exists between vaping and serious respiratory impacts, such as those from COVID-19. While a network of solutions is required to overcome this epidemic, there are actions people can each take today.
Families play a critical role in influ-encing a child’s decision-making. Parents and guardians can help keep their kids healthy by having thoughtful, factual conversations about the dangers of vaping. For assistance getting started, parents and guardians can turn to no-cost digital tools from Be Vape Free a nationwide initiative, built around the evidence-based CATCH My Breath program, that provides standards aligned e-cigarette prevention resources for educators teaching grades 5-12 and families. Be Vape Free was created in partnership with the CVS Health Foundation, CATCH Global Founda-tion, and Discovery Education.
The parent toolkit is designed to give parents, guardians, educators, and com-munity members the opportunity to learn more about the vaping epidemic, gauge a child’s risk of trying e-cigarettes and find the best strategy to talk to kids about the dangers of e-cigarettes. Chock-full of facts and research, these resources have just about everything families need to empower students to live a healthy life. With the toolkit, fam-ilies can answer key questions related to vaping including:
• What is vaping?
• Why do teens vape?
• What do vapes look like?
• What are in vapes?
• What are the effects of vaping?
• What are signs of vaping?
With this informational foundation, parents and guardians can connect with their kids to initiate conversations about the dangers of e-cigarettes based on facts. Together-one conversation, one day, and one student at a time, we can end the vaping epidemic by arming young people with the tools they need to make healthy, smart decisions, and impart lessons that last a lifetime.
Ms Bianco is the National Program Director for the CATCH My Breath youth e-cigarette prevention program. She has 18 years of experience working in tobacco prevention and control with government and non-profit organizations.