The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) has recently launched an important initiative to combat the growing trend of vaping among high school students in St Ann, Jamaica. The anti-vaping campaign aims to raise awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes and promote healthier lifestyle choices among the youth.
The campaign was officially launched at the St Ann Parish Library in St Ann’s Bay, with Ferncourt High School serving as the testing ground for this pioneering initiative. By partnering with the school, the NCDA intends to deliver targeted anti-vaping messaging to the student body, fostering a culture of informed decision-making.
The need for this campaign came to light after a rapid assessment conducted in the parish, which revealed that seven percent of the 193 young respondents are already using e-cigarettes. Of particular concern is the observation that girls are heavily involved in vaping and frequently share the devices within their friend groups.
The anti-vaping campaign will utilize a multifaceted approach, engaging and educating school administrators, teachers, school leaders, and parents about substance abuse and social issues. The NCDA plans to conduct training sessions at Ferncourt High School, starting in July, with the goal of extending these sessions to other secondary institutions that want to participate in the campaign.
Nordia Henry, the Substance Abuse Officer for St Ann, emphasized the potential dangers of e-cigarettes. With over 7,000 different flavors available, these devices attract kids due to their colorful packaging. However, Henry warns that nicotine, the addictive substance found in e-cigarettes, is even more addictive than cocaine. It is vital to address the growing popularity of vaping among young people and prevent their future addiction to nicotine.
The campaign has gained endorsement from both the Ministry of Education and Youth Region Three and the Restorative Justice Unit in the Ministry of Justice, demonstrating the widespread recognition of the importance of this issue.
Nina Dixon, Safety and Security Officer at the Ministry of Education’s Region Three Division, emphasized the need for public education to prevent substance abuse among students. Dixon highlighted the concerning trend of young people suffering from various illnesses linked to vaping, urging for more understanding and awareness around e-cigarettes, including their use even among primary school students.
Given the potential harm associated with vaping, it is crucial to address this issue comprehensively and ensure that our children are protected from the dangers of e-cigarettes. The anti-vaping campaign for St Ann high schools represents a significant step forward in actively combating this epidemic and promoting healthier choices among our youth.