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Schools & Child Care

Vaping and E-Cigarettes

While youth smoking rates continue to be at-all-time low, vaping is now addicting youth to nicotine instead. Canada has some of the highest teen vaping rates in the world, with 12% of Canadian students in grades 10-12 vaping daily.

In Simcoe Muskoka, 32% of students in grades 7-12 reported using an e-cigarette in the past year, with this number jumping to 43% when looking at only high school students. In speaking with local youth, parents and teachers, we are hearing that vaping continues to be a major issue among Simcoe Muskoka youth. This is concerning as many people do not realize that vaping has health risks and actually increases anxiety and depression and the chances that youth will begin smoking cigarettes and try other drugs. Vaping also affects memory, concentration and behaviour and sets youth up for a lifetime of addiction. 

Information about vaping products (also known as e-cigarettes), the laws and the impact of vaping on health has been changing rapidly, so we developed the Not An Experiment initiative, which includes resources to help educators as well as parents/caregivers and students learn about vaping, the health effects the devices can cause and the industry that profits from their sale. 

More information about Not An Experiment, the resources available and the support the health unit’s Smoke-Free program can provide can be found in the sections below.

 

Not An Experiment includes a website (NotAnExperiment.ca) that is full of interactive elements providing up to date information about:

The website also features two escape room-style activities that teach students about vaping in a fun way:


Classroom Escape Room Activity

This interactive game is in a printable format which can be facilitated by educators and has been used extensively in schools to teach students in grades 7-12 about the risks of vaping, nicotine addiction, and industry marketing tactics. It includes:

The health unit has loaner kits available to bring the game to life and streamline its facilitation. Contact [email protected] to request a kit.

Computer Game

The second is a computer game (English and desktop compatible only) which allows students to play online. The game ends by asking the player a series of questions that can be used to assess their level of knowledge related to the game’s key learnings.

The website also provides other resources that educators can use to teach students about vaping and give them tools to spread the word about these devices to their peers. See the next section for more information and links.

NotAnExperiment.ca is designed to empower and engage youth and further support education partners in teaching students in grades 7-12 about vaping. Downloadable resources include:

  • Three lesson plans (for grades 7 and 8) with connections to the Ontario Health and Physical Education – Healthy Living curriculum, developed by the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. The escape room-style activity is incorporated into this lesson plan series.
  • Powerpoint slide deck that summarizes all of the information available on NotAnExperiment.ca. Educators can use this information to increase their own knowledge and/or supplement their lesson plans.
  • Webpage tailored to parents and caregivers, featuring a Making vaping part of the conversation tip sheet and video series that highlights vaping information and tips for talking with youth about vaping. These are great resources to share in school communications with parents and caregivers! 
  • Posters and school announcements to use in school-wide awareness raising events.
  • Resources to prevent vaping in school washrooms and on school property, including posters, announcements, and interactive “Take the Clouds Outside” display and fine post cards explaining the fines for using e-cigarettes on school property and for sharing the devices
  • Three video series for youth.

With youth vaping on the rise, more and more students are getting addicted to nicotine. Quitting vaping is one of the best things students will ever do for themselves and there is help to quit!

  • Quash (available as an app in the App Store and Google Play): this app can help students quit on their own.
  • Stop Vaping Challenge (available as an app in the App Store and on Google Play): using this app will help students quit with support from friends.
  • Plan Your Quit: students can use this tool to plan their quit.

The health unit’s Smoke-Free program staff are available to provide brief presentations about vaping and Not An Expierment at school staff and parent meetings and has loaner kits and print materials available to support educators in implementing Not An Experiment in their schools.

Call Health Connection or email [email protected] if you would like support to address vaping or smoking in your school community, including any questions about implementing Not An Experiment.

Health Connection can be reached at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 

vapingNAE 

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