Teens & nicotine: Cigarette use down, but…


Middle and highschool college students in Vigo County appear to be following the statewide development of much less cigarette use, however youth advocates are anxious the lure of vaping might have changed one well being hazard with one other harmful behavior.

Vaping and e-cigarettes appear to be changing cigarettes amongst teenagers, primarily attributable to advertising directed at a youthful viewers, mentioned Sarah Knoblock, tobacco coalition coordinator for Chances and Services for Youth.

Tribune-Star/Joseph C. GarzaBright colours and catchy names: A pattern of tobacco merchandise on show at Chances and Services for Youth within the Booker T. Washington Community Center on Wednesday. Vaping and e-cigarettes appear to be changing cigarettes amongst teenagers, primarily attributable to advertising directed at a youthful viewers, mentioned Sarah Knoblock, tobacco coalition coordinator for CASY.

Knoblock mentioned the coronavirus pandemic has put a maintain on lots of the tobacco-use surveys carried out in colleges, nevertheless it’s straightforward to see that the tobacco trade is concentrating on youthful customers with its advertising {dollars}.

Flavor names equivalent to “unicorn milk” or “strawberry shortcake” are focused at teenagers, Knoblock mentioned.

Placement of merchandise in retailer – equivalent to close to sweet or ice cream shows – additionally places vaping merchandise within the sight-line of younger shoppers.

“The tobacco industry is trying to get replacement customers,” Knoblock mentioned.

Another concern is the units being marketed to children, which will be “hidden in plain sight,” mentioned Brandon Halleck, CASY chief working officer. Devices used may appear to be a USB flash drive or a stick of lipstick. There are hoodies that allow younger folks to vape utilizing a drawstring.

“We know it’s an issue, and kids are concealing it,” he mentioned.

One native highschool scholar who vapes, and requested to stay unnamed, has been vaping for a few yr. “I was going through stress and it was the only way I could relieve it without hurting myself,” mentioned the 18-year-old.

She mentioned she’s addicted, and she or he tried to cease however couldn’t. The teen-ager does hope to stop sometime.

The highschool scholar mentioned she does vape at school, “but you have to be secretive about it.” Loads of children vape, she mentioned.

CASY’s efforts

CASY provides tobacco training, prevention and cessation applications to college students in Vigo and Sullivan counties. For 2021, CASY acquired a $220,000 neighborhood partnership grant from Indiana Department of Health Tobacco Prevention and Cessation.

Free counseling is out there for teen tobacco product customers, Knoblock mentioned.

Teens and younger adults are additionally inspired to make use of the “This is Quitting” cellular program designed to assist younger folks stop vaping. The textual content messaging program incorporates messages from different younger folks like them who’ve tried to or efficiently stop e-cigarettes.

Just final month, CASY gave a presentation on tobacco prevention at Sarah Scott Middle School.

Haaven Rentfro, a junior at Terre Haute North Vigo High School, is concerned with a CASY scholar management program that seeks to stop use of medication, alcohol, tobacco merchandise and vaping.

Vaping “has been a big issue. I see a lot of girls and guys going to bathrooms and skipping class to use vape,” Rentfro mentioned. Students might vape earlier than or after college or at lunchtime; they know which bogs aren’t monitored as intently.

The units they use makes it simpler to cover what they’re doing.

Many are conscious that vaping will be dangerous, however maybe they don’t absolutely perceive the extent of the long-term results, she mentioned.

Rentfro believes higher public consciousness is required; mother and father want to know their youngsters possibly addicted, and people who vape want a greater understanding of the injury that may be executed to their our bodies, together with severe lung injury.

“We need to try to show them how much actual pain it causes,” she mentioned. “It’s more than just a fun little game or hobby that doesn’t affect you very much.”

Tribune-Star/Joseph C. GarzaCoping mechanism: A scholar shows a Vuse e-cig in her hand at a neighborhood park on Wednesday. The 18-year-old mentioned she began vaping to deal with stress in her life.

Vigo college efforts

The Vigo County School Corp. has a tobacco- and vape-free coverage mentioned Megan Kirk, coordinator of Project Aware, a federal grant program geared toward higher responding to the psychological well being wants of college youngsters.

Students who’re discovered utilizing tobacco or vaping merchandise on college grounds are supplied a possibility to take part in Catch My Breath, a program that empowers college students to make good choices about e-cigarettes and resist social pressures to vape.

State information exhibits Indiana has made substantial progress in decreasing youth cigarette smoking, with fewer youth reporting making an attempt cigarettes than ever earlier than. The information exhibits a major drop from 2000 when 65.3% of highschool college students reported making an attempt cigarettes to a low of twenty-two.1% in 2018.

In a 2018 survey, about 5% of highschool college students, and fewer than 2% of center college college students reported utilizing tobacco throughout the previous 30 days.

Katelyn Moats Liebermann, interim spokesperson for the Vigo County School Corp., mentioned scholar tobacco and vaping use within the colleges nonetheless happens regardless of training and prevention efforts. Rather than punitive measures, nevertheless, college students are directed into restorative measures equivalent to cessation applications.

Issues surrounding tobacco and its dangerous results are launched within the VCSC center college well being curriculum and that continues by way of highschool, Liebermann mentioned.

Liebermann mentioned information on violations of the tobacco coverage is maintained on the particular person colleges, however was not out there for the district as an entire.

While the COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on surveying college students about tobacco use, CASY’s Knoblock mentioned, proof is rising that most people use of tobacco merchandise has elevated attributable to stress and anxiousness. Future information assortment will decide to what extent, if any, using tobacco and vaping merchandise elevated amongst teenagers.

Lisa Trigg will be reached at 812-231-4254 or at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at TribStarLisa.

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