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American Lung Association Announces Robust Plan To End Youth Vaping for West Virginia Students, Parents, Schools

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CHARLESTON, WV (September 2, 2020) – In West Virginia, 35.7% of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Vaping harms developing lungs and overall health and may place people at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Now, when protecting lung health is more important than ever, the American Lung Association today announced a broad plan to end youth vaping.

“As we prepare for the school year to resume, more students may experience social pressure to vape, while others may begin to vape in response to stress, including stress related to COVID-19,” said American Lung Association Division Senior Director State Advocacy-Eastern, Lance Boucher. “We’re already facing what the Surgeon General refers to as a ‘youth vaping epidemic.’ Our communities need support, and as the nation’s trusted champion of lung health, the American Lung Association is proud to offer West Virginia schools, parents and students proven approaches to end youth vaping in our communities and state.”

The American Lung Association’s comprehensive plan to end youth vaping encompasses education, advocacy and research, and has four components:

“Get Your Head Out of the Cloud” public awareness campaign with the Ad Council equips parents with the facts about e-cigarettes and support conversations before kids start to vape. The campaign includes free educational resources and guides, conversation starters and facts about vaping at TalkAboutVaping.org.
Vape-Free Schools Initiative to help school administrators and educators address the surge of youth vaping through guidance in implementing a comprehensive tobacco use policy, an alternative to suspension program for students found non-compliant with existing tobacco use policies, as well as offering a voluntary youth-centered tobacco cessation, including vaping cessation assistance, for youth wanting to quit tobacco use for good. Participating schools will be recognized as part of the American Lung Association Vape-Free Schools Initiative in their communities and with parents and staff.
Targeted advocacy plan to advance proven e-cigarette policies at local, state and federal levels including increasing funding for comprehensive tobacco prevention and control programs and protecting the ability of local communities to enact local smokefree air laws.
$2 million research investment to understand the effects of vaping on developing lungs. The organization is also partnering with Northwestern Medicine in a $25 million National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded grant to study the longitudinal lung health of millennials, including the long-term impact of vaping.
Video on YouTube

Joseph Ash, age 13, student of Huntington East Middle School, and second year Raze ambassador, commented on the Lung Association’s plan to end youth vaping, “E-cigarettes not only have a huge negative impact on my peers but my generation. One in 4 kids vape which has increased 135% in the last two years. Kids and their families need information about why vaping is unsafe,” said Ash.

Editor’s Note: Raze is a teen tobacco prevention movement with a membership of thousands of West Virginia youth, funded and facilitated by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the American Lung Association. Ash was also chosen as an ambassador for the national Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids this year.

For more information about the American Lung Association’s work to end youth vaping, visit TalkAboutVaping.org Journalists seeking to schedule a media interview with lung health and tobacco experts and Joseph Ash, may contact Valerie Gleason at Val.Gleason@Lung.org or 717-971-1123 or cell at 302-275-2277.

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

American Lung Association • 55 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 1150 • Chicago, IL 60601
1331 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Ste. 1425 North • Washington, D.C. 20004
1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) Lung.org

The Ad Council is where creativity and causes converge. The non-profit organization brings together the most creative minds in advertising, media, technology and marketing to address many of the nation’s most important causes. The Ad Council has created many of the most iconic campaigns in advertising history. Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. Smokey Bear. Love Has No Labels. Its innovative social good campaigns raise awareness, inspire action and save lives. To learn more, visit AdCouncil.org, follow the Ad Council’s communities on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and view the creative on YouTube.

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