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Southern Arizona students testing out e-cigarette prevention program

TUCSON-  A new test program based out of the University of Arizona is working to educate pre-teens about the dangers of vaping and addiction.

The pilot program is aimed at fifth and sixth graders and includes 22 schools in Oregon and 22 schools in southern Arizona.

“We’re evaluating an online program and it’s a really fun program for kids to do they really enjoy it,” Dr. Judith Gordon University of Arizona Professor at the College of Nursing said.

The pilot program adds vaping education to the Click City Tobacco program. An online tobacco prevention program implemented in Oregon public schools.

It’s made possible from a $225,00 grant from the National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research that would update the curriculum to address e-cigarettes as well.

Just last week the Trump administration said it plans to ban the sale of non-tobacco flavored electronic cigarettes.

“We know short term health consequences of vaping include respiratory problems, cell damage other things that are going on in the short run,” Gordon said, “But as I said we really have no idea what the health problems are in the long run.”

This comes on the heels of at least six deaths linked to a vaping-related respiratory illness and at least 483 reported cases of lung illnesses across the country.

“Vaping is an epidemic among our youth and people, both youths and adults, have a miss-perception that vaping is a harmless alternative to smoking,” Gordon said, “We know that youth who vape nicotine products are almost four times more likely to go on and use conventional tobacco products.”

The pilot program is offered to students in the classroom for about two days a week for four weeks and will be completed in June. If the program is successful it would be implemented nationally soon after.

Denelle Confair

Denelle Confair

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