What Can We Do to Prevent and Reduce Teen Vaping: Actionable Tips for Schools, Parents, and the Youth

Overview
Reduce Teen Vaping

As vaping continues to spread through Dubai’s schools, administrators, teachers, parents, and students must work together to address this issue. Teen vaping isn’t just a trend as the youth sees it. It’s a serious health risk that needs to be prevented and stopped — and it needs to be done in many ways. Based on our research, here are a few things that everyone can do to prevent and stop youth vaping:

What Can Administrators Do?

Take the lead in being proactive and implementing preventive measures for campus vaping. Teach teachers, staff, parents, and students how to spot vaping devices and include smoking and vaping in the curriculum so that students can understand more about its risks and impact. Host school-based events to help kids understand the situation with real-world examples — invite speakers who have first-hand experiences and experts in the field. Implement “zero tolerance” policies and ways for students to anonymously report vaping. For students who are already vaping, prioritize providing them with counseling and support services to help students overcome addiction and deal with underlying stressors and factors that got them into vaping.

What Can Health Educators and Classroom Teachers Do?

Research and become familiar with what vaping devices look like so you can spot vaping in classrooms. While some devices are easy to spot, there are also vaping devices that are so sleek that they look like USB drives. Clearly and empathetically, provide lessons on smoking and vaping to support the schools’ existing curriculum. When teaching health-related topics, teachers can use real-world examples of vaping for students to understand more about its risks and impacts. It is also beneficial to encourage peer-to-peer education initiatives where students lead discussions on vaping and its consequences, as kids are more likely to listen to people they trust and relate to.

What Can School Nurses, School Counselors, and Student Assistance Professionals Do?

Help students through regular physical and mental health checkups. Provide private counseling sessions to students struggling with vaping addiction and connect them with programs that will help them quit. Work with teachers and administrators to set up school-wide programs that educate children about the dangers of vaping and promote healthy habits. Encourage students to communicate openly and reassure them that we are here to help and listen without any judgments.

What Can The Youth Do?

Your voices are more than powerful enough to encourage change. Participate in peer-led projects and awareness campaigns to educate peers about the dangers of vaping and help them make educated health decisions. Speak out against vaping, tell your friends to do the same, and, of course, encourage them to talk to teachers or counselors. Helping your friends understand that teachers or counselors are available to listen without judgment, that it is a safe environment, and that asking for help will not get them in trouble.

What Can Parents and Guardians Do?

Parents and guardians are the youth’s first teachers. You significantly influence how your kids feel and act about vaping in general. Lead by example and initiate open conversations about the risks of vaping with your children. Stay vigilant and familiarize yourself with vaping devices to prevent access at home. It is also very important to actively support, advocate, and ask your schools and communities for programs that try to stop teens from vaping and stress how important it is to make healthy choices.

Let us work together to create a future in which our youth can thrive without the negative impacts of nicotine addiction. No matter how big or small, every effort contributes to building a healthier and safer tomorrow.

References

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/monitoring-future-2019-survey-results-vaping
https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/teens-e-cigarettes
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5885124/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7385857/
https://www.edweek.org/leadership/the-student-vaping-crisis-how-schools-are-fighting-back/2019/08
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632078/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6261256/
https://www.lung.org/quit-smoking/helping-teens-quit/not-on-tobacco