Psychoeducation Around Vaping in High Schoolers
Vaping among high school students has become an epidemic in our state of Massachusetts. According to the government of Massachusetts, in 2019, 32% of high school students reported vaping compared to 4.6% of adults. High schoolers in the state of Massachusetts have a greater percentage of e-cigarette usage than highschoolers across the United States of America. According to the US Food and Drug Administration in 2022, 14.1% of high school students use e-cigarettes across the United States. Teens in our state are using e-cigarettes at a rate double what teens across the US are using. The CDC is investigating cases of severe lung illness that is potentially associated with vaping. Residents of Seekonk and surrounding towns may want to educate their high schooler on the harms associated with vaping nicotine products. Long term effects are unknown, and it is important that your child understands the potential long-term effects that may be experienced later in their life. Have a conversation with your teenager about what made them start vaping and if they are willing to quit. Do not become upset with your child as that will only want them to vape even more. As a town we need to address this in our schools from a harm-reduction approach. According to John Hopkins’ School of Public Health, harm reduction is reducing the harm associated with using drugs through a variety of public health interventions. Harm reduction also recognizes that all people deserve safety and dignity. Drug use should not be treated as a moral failing. Providing resources for those high schoolers looking to quit vaping and learn various other, healthier, coping techniques for their emotions. Implementing a support group in the community for high schoolers experiencing high stress may be beneficial for our high schoolers to express their feelings to others who are also struggling. Addressing vaping from a harm-reduction approach at Seekonk High School will educate our youth on the harms of vaping, while also allowing them autonomy to make their own decision around vaping. As a future social worker, I can share that our mission is to meet people where they are at and wait for the person to decide they want help. Let’s do our part in educating our high schoolers and allowing them to make their own decision around their health and wellbeing.
MSW Student at Bridgewater State University
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