As Marin students return to school, educators and health officials are hoping nearly $500,000 in state grants announced this month will help them curb the rise in youth vaping.
The Novato Unified, Tamalpais Union and Ross Valley school districts will share the award, which will be distributed annually for three years. The tobacco-use prevention education grants from the California Department of Education award Novato Unified $130,278; Tam Union, $224,100; and Ross Valley, $114,737.
“We’re thrilled three school districts were awarded grants, but this issue really affects all schools,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County public health officer, in an email. “The plan is to spread the programs and tools developed under the grants to all school districts, to raise the bar countywide. These grants are really going to accelerate our progress.”
Vaporizers, also known as vapes or e-cigarettes, are battery-operated devices that heat up liquid nicotine to generate an aerosol that users inhale. Aside from assertions that e-cigarettes can birth a nicotine addiction that eventually can expand to regular cigarettes, vaping is being researched for possible links to a variety of health problems — including neurological damage and lung problems such as coughing or asthma.
Chemicals in vaping fluid also can cause acute lung injuries and contribute to eventual lung and cardiovascular disease, according to the American Lung Association. According to the California Healthy Kids Survey, youth vaping has increased from one in 10 to one in three students, Willis has noted.
Novato Unified, which received an earlier anti-tobacco state grant of $600,000 in December 2018, is launching a pilot project this year to install vaping detectors at its schools and has hired a school resource officer to help in education, counseling and enforcement efforts, said Amie Carter, assistant superintendent. With the new grant, the district also will hire a full-time educator to do outreach …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Health