DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo., May 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of concerned of students and parents are working with the Tobacco Free 303 campaign to educate the community about the dangers of vaping, a problem that's become an epidemic among youth in Colorado. The collaboration produced a series of public service announcements in English and Spanish, highlighting the risk of nicotine addiction from devices disguised as USB drives.
"Vaping is huge a problem among our young people," said Taylor Roberts, Tobacco Free 303 spokesman and Chronic Disease Prevention Coordinator at Tri-County Health Department. "Hearing about why you should avoid it from peers makes a bigger impact than if the advice comes solely from adults."
In addition to developing messages and content for the PSAs, some parents and students from the Douglas County Youth Leader Board are featured in the videos. Teens involved with the project thought humor and relatable themes would be more effective than scare tactics to get through to their peers, delivering lines like: "The only like on my last Instagram post was from my mom…" and "My crush asked me out over text, then ghosted me…" ending with "but at least I don't have a nicotine addiction from a USB drive."
The videos combat advertising from the tobacco/vaping industry that tries to portray vaping as a safe alternative to smoking, which it is not. Though there's little data currently about the effects of chemicals in vaping products, emerging data show connections to serious health problems. Established research also proves exposure to nicotine makes adolescent brains prone to lifelong addiction to nicotine and other substances.
"We don't need to scare the youth in this community, we need to educate and empower them," said Zachary Hess, Director of Health, Wellness, and Prevention for the Douglas County School District. "Let's encourage them to take healthy risks like asking someone to prom, performing on stage, playing a sport… or starting a movement."
About Tobacco Free 303
Tobacco Free 303 is a coalition of community organizations in the Denver Metro area working together to educate Coloradans, particularly younger generations, about the dangers of tobacco use. The coalition empowers officials, parents and community members to take action against the tobacco industry's targeting of youth, using evidence-based strategies that reduce youth access to and use of tobacco products.
Katie Trexler Kern
SOURCE Tobacco Free 303