“There’s nothing safe about vaping,” says the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ).
In collaboration with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, the PDFNJ launched a new media campaign highlighting the dangers of vaping for students in New Jersey. The newly launched campaign comes at a time when teen use of vaping devices and e-cigarettes has skyrocketed across the United States.
In 2018, the United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams declared that vaping had reached epidemic levels.
“I am officially declaring e-cigarette use among youth an epidemic in the United States,” Adams said. “Now is the time to take action. We need to protect our young people from all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.”
According to the PDFNJ, the campaign will appear on shared public spaces throughout the state. Campaign materials will appear on billboards, trains, and buses across New Jersey.
In one message, the PDFNJ emphasizes the risks associated with vaping by comparing e-cigarette use to skydiving without a parachute.
“Vaping can inflict significant damage to one’s health, especially for youth,” PDFNJ Executive Director Angelo Valente said. “We want teens throughout the state to know the risks they are taking if they choose to use e-cigarettes, and to encourage them to avoid using these potentially dangerous products.”
Many of the messages redirect readers to VapeFactsNJ.com, where information on the risks and hazards of vaping are available to the public. The website, run by the New Jersey Department of Health, aims to help teens understand the facts about vaping and “help them not become a tool.”
“The popularity of e-cigs and vapes among youth threatens to reverse hard-fought declines in adolescent smoking and create a new generation of nicotine addicts,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “We must raise public awareness about the dangers of vaping to prevent another deadly addiction epidemic from taking root in our communities.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaping is considered less harmful than smoking traditional tobacco products like cigarettes. E-cigarettes and related devices contain fewer toxic chemicals.
But what makes vaping as addictive as cigarettes, according to the CDC, is an ingredient common in both products: nicotine. Just like traditional cigarettes, most e-cigarettes contain highly addictive nicotine.
Some dangerous side effects of nicotine include increased heart rate and increased chance of heart attack. These effects are caused by a rise in blood pressure and a dramatic increase in adrenaline levels due to the nicotine in the e-cigarette.
According to Surgeon General Adams, nicotine negatively affects the development of the adolescent brain. Nicotine changes the way synapses are formed in the brain, which can negatively alter the parts of the brain that control attention and learning.
Vaping also took the lives of 55 people. The New Jersey Department of Health confirmed that one death related to vaping-related illness occurred in the Garden State. The department confirmed 53 cases of vaping-related illness.
According to the CDC, its annual National Youth Tobacco Survey in 2019 found that more than one in four high school students reported using an e-cigarette in the previous 30 days.
The survey revealed that a significant increase in vaping among teenagers. In 2019, the percentage of high school students using e-cigarettes jumped 6.7 points. In 2018, it was 20.8 percent. In 2019, 27.5 percent of high school students reported vaping.
The extreme increase in more than one year is a symptom of the larger vaping epidemic among teens. According to the PDFNJ, in 2011 only 1.5 percent of high school students said they used an e-cigarette.
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