BOISE, Idaho — Idaho is facing a youth e-cigarette epidemic, as last year alone, there was a 78 percent increase in high school kids vaping according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaping places youths’ developing lungs at risk of irreversible lung damage and disease and sets them up for a lifetime of addiction to tobacco products.
To combat this epidemic, the American Lung Association in Idaho is offering local schools new resources, including a new program to support and educate students about the risks of e-cigarette use as an alternative to school suspension. Intervention for Nicotine Dependence: Education, Prevention, Tobacco and Health (INDEPTHTM) is a new, convenient alternative to suspension program that helps schools address the teen vaping problem in a supportive way.
As an equity-focused solution to keeping youth in school, INDEPTH is an interactive program that teaches teens about nicotine dependence, establishing healthy alternatives and how to beat tobacco addiction. Taught by a trained adult facilitator, each session addresses a different tobacco-related issue and can be facilitated either one-on-one or in a group setting in schools or community-based organizations. INDEPTH is available at no-cost to schools. The Lung Association in Idaho is looking to partner with schools across Idaho to help students.
“Each year, we see many students in Idaho suspended for using tobacco and e-cigarette products,” said Allison Hickey, national executive vice president of the American Lung Association Western Region. “The answer to this epidemic is not suspension but education. The INDEPTH program offers in-school education so that students can live tobacco-free lives.”