Waterbury Underage Vape Prevention Program
When the FDA cracked down on marketing flavored vape cartridges like Juul, the goal was to protect teens from advertising more flavors than a Baskin Robbins. However, disposable, non-cartridge flavored vapes are still visible in Connecticut smoke shops and convenience stores. Waterbury health officials are now taking action to address this issue, as kids under 21 continue to find ways to access these products.
The Problem: Underage Vaping in Connecticut
Youth Attraction to Vaping
As vaping becomes a trend among young people, they are more likely to find ways to obtain these products. “If it’s something that’s trending and someone wants it, they’re going to figure it out,” said Rushnee Vereen from the Waterbury Health Department.
Flavored Tobacco Bans in Neighboring States
Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island have all implemented bans on flavored tobacco products. Connecticut lawmakers are trying to catch up, but their most recent attempt failed.
Challenges in Connecticut’s Legislation
State Rep. Geraldo Reyes (D – Waterbury) supports a bill banning flavored tobacco in Connecticut. However, the bill has been put on hold due to disagreements over a carve-out exempting menthols. Reyes said, “From the commerce side they believe that that’s the number one seller.”
The Solution: Drop the Vape and Pick Up Skates Event
A Fun and Educational Approach
As part of National Prevention Week, Waterbury health officials are hosting a “Drop the Vape and Pick Up Skates” event at Roller Magic. This event offers not only a night out, but also education and cessation resources for those in attendance.
Promoting Alternative Activities
“It’s going to be fun, and it also shows the kids that there’s other alternatives, other than vaping,” said Roshan Hawk from the Waterbury Health Department.
The Impact: Changing Attitudes Toward Vaping
Increasing Awareness of Vaping Dangers
Waterbury health officials aim to change attitudes by increasing awareness of the potential harm caused by vaping. “The more they are aware of what’s in that stuff, they may take a look at it and say OK I don’t want this happening to my brain, I don’t want this happening to my lungs,” said Rushnee Vereen.
Conclusion: The Fight Continues for a Healthier Future
While legislative efforts continue, Waterbury health officials hope their prevention program will empower young people to make healthier choices. By offering alternative activities and raising awareness about the dangers of vaping, they seek to create a brighter future for their community.
- What is the purpose of the “Drop the Vape and Pick Up Skates” event?
The event aims to raise awareness about the dangers of vaping and provide alternative activities for young people.
- Why did the Connecticut flavored tobacco ban fail?
The ban failed due to disagreements over a carve-out exempting menthols.
- How are other states handling flavored tobacco bans?
Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island have all implemented bans on flavored tobacco products.
- What are the dangers of vaping for young people?
Vaping can cause harm to the brain, lungs, and overall health, especially for young people.
- What can be done to prevent underage vaping?
Education, legislation, and offering alternative activities can help prevent underage vaping.