From The Tribune staff reports
BIRMINGHAM — On Tuesday, Sept. 1, the American Lung Association in Alabama announced a comprehensive plan to end youth vaping.
The plan is broken down into four components, including an Ad Council awareness campaign, the Vape-Free Schools Initiative, advocacy efforts and a $2 million research investment.
In Alabama, 19% of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey. Vaping harms developing lungs and overall health and may place people at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
“With kids back in school, more students may experience social pressure to vape, while others may begin to vape in response to stress, including stress related to COVID-19,” said Ashley Lyerly, the director of advocacy for the Lung Association. “We’re already facing what the Surgeon General refers to as a ‘youth vaping epidemic.’ Our communities need support, and as the nation’s trusted champion of lung health, the American Lung Association is proud to offer Alabama schools, parents and students proven approaches to end youth vaping in our communities and state.”
The American Lung Association breaks down the four components of its plan to end youth vaping:
- “Get Your Head Out of the Cloud” public awareness campaign with the Ad Council equips parents with the facts about e-cigarettes and supports conversations before kids start to vape. The campaign includes free educational resources and guides, conversation starters and facts about vaping at TalkAboutVaping.org.
- Vape-Free Schools Initiative to help school administrators and educators address the surge of youth vaping through guidance in implementing a comprehensive tobacco use policy, an alternative to suspension program for students found non-compliant with existing tobacco use policies, as well as offering a voluntary youth-centered tobacco cessation program, including vaping cessation assistance, for youth wanting to quit tobacco use for good. Participating schools will be recognized as part of the American Lung Association Vape-Free Schools Initiative in their communities and with parents and staff.
- Targeted advocacy plan to advance proven e-cigarette policies at local, state and federal levels.
- $2 million research investment to understand the effects of vaping on developing lungs. The organization is also partnering with Northwestern Medicine in a $25 million National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded grant to study the longitudinal lung health of millennials, including the long-term impact of vaping.
For more information about the Lung Association’s work to end youth vaping, visit TalkAboutVaping.org.