According to a 2016 US. Surgeon General report, E-cigarette use (a.k.a. “vaping”) among American high schoolers grew an astonishing 900% from 2011 to 2015. A recent 2019 survey of over 19,000 youth reported that 27.5% of high school students and 10.5% of middle school students have used e-cigarettes .
Vaping can be particularly harmful to adolescents because of the presence of nicotine, which has addictive properties that are particularly harmful to their developing brains, makes them more likely to use other tobacco products in the future and may also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs.
Studies show that nicotine use in adolescents can harm parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control. In addition to these dangers, there have been numerous reports of lung disease among teens and young adults throughout the country related to vaping an e-cigarette use.
As the father of a high-schooler, a middle-schooler, and a soon-to-be-middle-schooler, this epidemic hits particularly close to home. Our children face the temptation to partake in this dangerous activity daily. We must do something to help our kids.
That’s why when Councilman Salem
and Aubrey Edge from Daily’s came to me with this idea to better educate Jacksonville’s youth about the dangers of vaping, I offered my full support. I thank them both for their leadership on this effort.
Together we announced the launch of a new public awareness campaign to educate citizens—and particularly young people—about the dangers and risks of e-cigarettes and vaping. This campaign is the result of a public-private partnership with $100,000 from the City and $100,000 from private donors.
In the coming weeks, the City will issue an RFP to solicit bids from advertising and public relations firms to put together television and radio commercials, advertisements and other communications efforts with the goal of reducing the use of vaping products among Jacksonville youth.
Of course, we know that no ad campaign or PSA by itself will be enough. True success will depend on parents. I encourage all parents to get involved and talk with their kids about the dangers and risks of vaping. There are resources available to help at Teen.SmokeFree.gov
and other places. And we will provide additional online and other resources as part of this effort in the weeks and months ahead.