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Schools & Child Care

Smoking and Vaping Resources for Elementary Educators

Smoking continues to be the number one cause of preventable death and disease in Ontario. The good news is that smoking rates have been dropping over the past decades. Among Simcoe Muskoka youth in Grades 7-12 the rate has dropped to 6.7%. However, there is a real concern about the number of young people and children who are experimenting with vaping. In Grades 7-12 e-cigarette use has significantly increased in Simcoe Muskoka from 17.7% in 2015 to 31.6% in 2019. This is significantly higher compared to the provincial average (22.7%). Today's youth are at risk of becoming the newest generation to be addicted to the nicotine found in many e-liquids. Vaping devices are often small and can resemble a pen or memory stick which makes them easy to overlook. Students are being quite bold about using these devices in the classroom, school hallways, and bathrooms and on the school bus.

Educators play a significant role in reducing initiation of smoking and vaping and promoting healthy smoke and vape-free choices. Information about all commercial tobacco and e-cigarettes including cessation supports and legislation are available here. (The term commercial tobacco is used to differentiate tobacco industry products from, and to acknowledge the use of, traditional tobacco that forms part of indigenous culture and spirituality.)

  • Not An Experiment – Not An Experiment is a web-based (NotAnExperiment.ca) health promotion initiative. Downloadable materials, including an escape room activity support education partners in teaching youth and adults about vaping, the industry, the health effects and quit resources. A discussion guide reinforces key learnings and guides adults in engaging youth to take action and share learnings. "Take Action" tools are also provided. Grades 7-12.
  • 100% Smoke and Vape-Free School Grounds requirement: the Smoke-Free Ontario Act requires that all school property plus a 20-metre radius around all schools grounds (equivalent to two school bus lengths) be No Smoking, No Vaping by anyone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year round. The health unit provides signage and offers information and resources that can be used to communicate with the school community. Tobacco enforcement officers inspect schools to check for compliance with the law.
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