Oregon is facing a youth e-cigarette epidemic, as last year alone, there was a 78 percent increase in high school kids vaping according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaping places youths’ developing lungs at risk of irreversible lung damage and disease and sets them up for a lifetime of addiction to tobacco products, according to the American Lung Association.
To combat this epidemic, the American Lung Association in Oregon is offering local schools new resources, including a new program to support and educate students about the risks of e-cigarette use as an alternative to school suspension. Intervention for Nicotine Dependence: Education, Prevention, Tobacco and Health (INDEPTH TM ) is a new, convenient alternative to suspension program that helps schools address the teen vaping problem in a supportive way.
As an equity-focused solution to keeping youth in school, INDEPTH is an interactive program that teaches teens about nicotine dependence, establishing healthy alternatives and how to beat tobacco addiction. Taught by a trained adult facilitator, each session addresses a different tobacco-related issue and can be facilitated either one-on-one or in a group setting in schools or community-based organizations. INDEPTH is available at no-cost to schools. The Lung Association in Oregon is looking to partner with schools across Oregon to help students.
“Each year, we see many students in Oregon suspended for using tobacco and e-cigarette products,” said Allison Hickey, national executive vice president of the American Lung Association Western Region. “The answer to this epidemic is not suspension but education. The INDEPTH program offers in-school education so that students can live tobacco-free lives.”
Schools can sign up for INDEPTH at Lung.org/indepth. More information about e-cigarettes and lung health can be found at Lung.org/ecigs, including resources to help prevent teens from starting and to help them quit.