TUCSON, Ariz. — A state organization created a new initiative to help educate teens on the negative effects of tobacco product usage.
The American Lung Association said Arizona is facing a youth e-cigarette epidemic, as last year alone, there was a 78 percent increase in high school kids vaping according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The organization wants to help stop the usage of these products by educating youth in their schools, so they created a new program called the Intervention for Nicotine Dependence: Education, Prevention, Tobacco and Health or INDEPTH.
INDEPTH is suppose to act as an alternative to suspension to help schools address the teen vaping problem in a supportive way. This program would help educate youth on all tobacco products and provide healthy alternatives.
"The schools are saying, ya know, this is becoming an epidemic even in there schools, that so many kids are getting caught products it is such a distraction in the schools," Director of Adocacy for the American Lung Association Arizona JoAnna Strother said.
By better educating youth, Strother said the organization hopes to gives teens a better understanding of what these products are.
"This market is well-known for marketing their product to youth with enticing flavors to get them hooked," Strother said. "We still don't really know a lot about these products, research is still being done. We do know there was not a lot of education on these products prior. They're marketed as safer and a better alternative, but the chemicals are making people sick, and 16 have lost there lives."
This program was just launched a couple weeks ago and is a free resource for schools.