The Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria (SAPCA) invites Alexandria youth to submit videos explaining why they don’t vape. Submissions are due June 18.
The "I don’t vape because…" video project is part of a campaign to educate teens, parents and community members about e-cigarettes, an umbrella term for a variety of devices that produce an aerosol that users inhale, including JUULS and vape pens. The videos will be shared on SAPCA’s YouTube channel and promoted using social media and other platforms.
Youth interested in participating in the project should record 30-60 second videos of themselves answering the following prompts:
“I don’t vape because…” Give three reasons.
“I stay healthy by …” State three ways.
Submit videos to Rashad.Price@alexandriava.gov on or before June 18.
The project is spearheaded by the Vaping Work Group, a collaboration between SAPCA and Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) that focuses on determining ways to address vaping systematically. Co-led by SAPCA Coordinator Emma Beall and ACPS Substance Abuse Prevention & Intervention Services Coordinator Fredy Martinez, the group includes ACPS staff, ACPS middle and high school students, Department of Community and Human Services Youth Development staff, parents and community members. When members met online last month to review initiatives developed during the 2019-2020 school year, they prioritized the video project, the first in a series addressing e-cigarette use among youth.
While most teens in Alexandria are not using e-cigarettes, often referred to as “vaping,” educating youth about the dangers of these products is crucial, says Beall.
“There are a lot of misconceptions out there,” says Beall. “We need to encourage youth to educate themselves using credible sources so they can make informed choices.”
For example, says Beall, many adults and youth do not realize that vaping--the practice of inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by an e-cigarette --is not safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes.
Many e-cigarettes contain nicotine, the same addictive substance found in combustible tobacco cigarettes. “One JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes,” says Beall, “and the teen brain is still developing until the age of 25.”
Because of this, says Beall, teens that use e-cigarettes are at an increased risk to become addicted to these products and other substances--like cigarettes. Youth that use e-cigarettes are four times more likely to begin smoking combustible tobacco cigarettes within 18 months, compared to youth that do not use e-cigarettes. “While research is still emerging about the long-term health consequences of e-cigarettes, we do know many of the dangers of using traditional cigarettes” says Beall.
In addition, among the thousands of chemicals in e-liquids-- including formaldehyde, lead and arsenic-- some are carcinogens, substances known to cause cancer. “And the aerosols produced by e-cigarettes when those e-liquids are heated contain cancer causing chemicals, too,” says Beall.
Parents and caring adults can find resources and information on how to talk with youth about the risks of e-cigarette use, as well as how to get help to quit using e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, on the SAPCA website.
SAPCA is an alliance of parents, youth, schools, city health and recreation agencies, media, nonprofits, businesses, policymakers and law enforcement with the mission to engage the community in collaborative, cross-cultural and comprehensive substance abuse prevention efforts to reduce underage substance use and abuse in the City of Alexandria. View or sign up for the coalition’s monthly newsletter to learn more about their ongoing events and initiatives.
For more information about the video project email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 571.302.1022.