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Vaping-use rates rise dramatically in Newfoundland and Labrador, groups say

- Reuters
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

The increase in the number of Newfoundland and Labrador youth experimenting with and using vaping products has led to the formation of a partnership to provide electronic cigarette and vaping health education to students.

The NL Alliance for the Control of Tobacco (ACT) has partnered with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD), as well as the Conseil Scolaire Francophone Provincial, private and indigenous schools, to provide all Grade 7-12 students in the province with information on the use of e-cigarettes/vaping. 

A news release states that over the next two weeks, students in the province will be given the opportunity to learn about vaping, with the hope it will generate discussion on an issue that has become “a real health threat to youth.” 

ACT executive director Kevin Coady said that over the past two years, rates have climbed dramatically. The increase in the number of youth vaping is of concern, since many of the new users are non-smokers who could become the new generation of youth addicted to nicotine, he said. 

“Vaping is the new look of nicotine addiction, and our youth are being targeted and led down a path that they may not be able to return from,” he said.

Coady added that too many youth believe vaping is harmless and they do not realize it can lead to a lifetime of addiction. ACT is committed to getting the facts about vaping out to youth and to their teachers and parents, he said. 

The release notes that the Oct. 15-25 focus in the schools is the start of a comprehensive campaign that will extend the visibility and reach of messages to parents and other trusted adults to increase awareness of this public health issue.

Tony Stack, NLESD’s CEO/director of education, said community partnerships are integral to ensuring students throughout the province make informed decisions about their health and wellness.

“The increasing trend of young people experimenting with vaping products is concerning and inherently risky, given how we are just learning about the short- and long-term health impacts of e-cigarette use,” Stack said. “Our partnership with ACT will help empower our students with the information needed to help each other live long and healthy lives.” 

The release states that ACT has provided all schools with a vaping awareness tool kit that contains posters, mirror clings, information for teachers and other resources to help start the conversation about vaping. 

In addition, ACT has developed a lesson plan for teachers and provided each teacher with a PowerPoint presentation with speaking notes included. The presentation asks questions and provides answers so students can become better informed of the risks involved with vaping.

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