Beach Cities Health District’s Youth Advisory Council has dedicated much of its efforts this year on preventing teen vaping. The experiences of people from the Youth Advisory Council (Council) have provided useful insight into this epidemic. Most meetings begin with an introduction for the day and what we want to accomplish. Next, we split into groups of three or four to better focus on different topics. Each meeting we build off our findings from the prior meeting and begin to construct solutions and new ideas.
We are surrounded by supportive staff who listen and consider all ideas. Roughly two months ago, we went to the Hermosa Beach City Council to inform them of what we’ve been doing to combat teen vaping. We also shared an update on the Council’s work during the Families Connected Speaker Series. We created anti-vaping slogans, such as “stay woke don’t smoke” and “don’t applaud the pod” on posters and postcards that were distributed to schools around the Beach Cities. We tried to create simple slogans that students and parents alike would understand and remember and be able to learn from. Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic has halted our Council’s in-person meetings, but we’ve been able to adapt and have online meetings to discuss our topics and continue our important work.
In our opinion, the amount of teen vaping has significantly decreased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are no high school parties and fewer friend gatherings because of the regulations on physical distancing, so teens who do not own any vaping supplies are not able to vape as often as before. However, delivery services for purchasing devices are becoming much easier to access. Underage high school students are still able to own vaping supplies through these drop-off and delivery services. While some teens are willing to take the risk and buy from these delivery sites, it is still more difficult to obtain vaping devices as parents are staying at home and there are no other places open to use as alternate delivery addresses. Also, research has shown that those with weaker immune and respiratory systems are at higher risk for severe illness due to COVID-19. Weaker immune and respiratory systems are effects of vaping. This data is possibly driving some teenagers away from vaping.
Although there are a growing number of delivery and online sites that unfortunately allow minors to obtain vaping devices, the COVID-19 pandemic is limiting the use of these products to teens in the Beach Cities.