HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Partnership for a Drug-Free Community is a Huntsville-based nonprofit with a mission to make Madison County a healthier and safer place to live by reducing illegal drug use and underage tobacco use.
According to a CDC survey, in 2022, about 1 out of every 30 middle school students (3.3%) reported that they had used electronic cigarettes in the past 30 days. In 2022, about 1 of every 7 high school students (14.1%) reported that they had used electronic cigarettes in the past 30 days.
According to Ann Marie Martin, the Youth Youth Tobacco and Vaping Prevention Program for the organization, tobacco use among teens was in a steady decline until recently.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States and nearly all tobacco use begins during youth and young adulthood, according to the CDC.
Martin says vaping is more dangerous than many teens might think.
“It has a whole lot of nicotine. In fact, the popular vapes now like Juul, Pops, Puff Bars, Elf Bars, that kind of look like candy, they have a type of synthetic nicotine that is almost exactly as a hit from a traditional combustible cigarette,” said Martin.
Martin adds that, in addition to nicotine, there are flavoring chemicals in vapes that have the potential to cause damage to a person’s organs as well.
The Youth Tobacco and Vaping Program offered by Partnership is based on a Stanford University Medical School curriculum for grades 5-12. The organization also emphasizes the importance of providing training to adults since officials say they often do not have a clear understanding of the dangers of vaping. Those who would like to learn more about the educational programs can contact Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The organization has many other services including a Recovery Resource Hub. It is available to anyone seeking help with substance use disorders. It is free and they offer a state assessment to make referrals.
If someone wants to help the organization’s effort, there are also ways to volunteer with Partnership for a Drug-Free Community.