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Tobacco Prevention Notes

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With schools currently closed and social distancing in full effect, now is a great opportunity for high school aged youth to quit vaping. The extra time at home gives parents an opportunity to speak with their children about the dangers of vaping and encourage them to quit. It is known that e-cigarette aerosol contains ultrafine particles and cancer-causing chemicals.

Since COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that affects the lungs, quitting vaping would help those who may have been vapers previously and allow for potential lung function improvement.

With schools currently closed, youth who are social distancing should have fewer avenues to obtain any type of tobacco or vaping product.

According to the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 58 percent of high school aged students statewide have ever tried vaping. Nearly 11 percent of high school students stated that they share vaping devices with their peers.

In Roosevelt County, 55 percent of high school aged youth have ever tried vaping and 17 percent of high school aged youth shared vaping devices with their peers. Looking further, 31 percent of middle school aged students reported having ever vaped and 8 percent of them shared a vaping product with their peers. In the past few years, it has become increasingly apparent that middle school is where youth are first introduced to vaping products.

Parents can use the following five steps when engaging their child about vaping.

•Know the facts. Credible information about e-cigarettes and vaping products can be found at tobaccofree. mt.gov.

•Start a conversation with open-ended questions and without judgment. Understand your child may be addicted and addiction is a disease.

•Arm your child with information about the health risks of vaping. Let them come to their own conclusion that it is not safe.

•Get them help. Encourage them to use the teen resources available to them.

•Be an example by living tobacco-free.

With the resources available, why not take the time with schools closed and social distancing in effect to check out available resources. Currently, there is a new REACT Montana website. It can be found at https:// mtreact.com/react/ and has been given a new social media feel with both Facebook and Instagram capabilities. It has resources available to check facts regarding tobacco use and vaping. Also, there is the My Life, My Quit teen quit line which has also been designed to cater towards social media. It can be found at mylifemyquit.com or by calling 1-855-891-9989.

With youth using social media to connect with others, why not take advantage of the given opportunity to quit vaping and connect with the resources available. For questions about the dangers of vaping or how to quit, contact me at 653-6212.

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