HARRISBURG, PA — The Departments of Health (DOH) and Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) this week hosted the final presentations of a two-day virtual summit drawing more than 550 attendees together to discuss research, policies and programs regarding the vaping epidemic in Pennsylvania.
“Thousands across Pennsylvania fall victim to the strategically marketed tobacco and vaping products and are unaware of the significant health impacts such as nicotine addiction and lung associated injuries,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “I am proud to see experts, advocacy groups, and local authorities come together to discuss challenges and find opportunities to address the vaping epidemic.”
E-cigarettes, commonly referred to as e-cigs, e-hookahs, mods, vape pens, vapes or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), contain nicotine and other harmful and potentially harmful ingredients. Nicotine is a highly addictive product and leaves long-lasting effects on brain development. Young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to use other tobacco products, including cigarettes.
“Just as opioid misuse does not discriminate based on age, race, gender, or social class, we have seen vaping and e-cigarette usage surge throughout Pennsylvania touching many groups, but especially our teenagers,” said DDAP Secretary Jen Smith. “The knowledge gained from summit participates will help local communities, neighbors, and ultimately the future of Pennsylvania.”
This year’s vaping summit brought together experts virtually to present the latest research and information on health considerations, advocacy and policy work, resources for e-cigarette prevention and cessation and the opportunity for professional networking. The summit featured speakers from the American Lung Association, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia Department of Public Health. This summit was supported through American Lung Association, Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco (PACT), and TRU (Tobacco Resistance Unit).
Attendees were invited to participate in virtual breakout discussions focused on the successes and challenges of school-based and community-based prevention programs, addressing new e-cigarette product use in schools and the community, identifying other cessation programs and opportunities within communities around the commonwealth, engaging youth in prevention efforts in a virtual environment, and engaging community coalitions and partners in prevention efforts with a focus on adapting approaches during the pandemic.
You can influence someone’s decisions to use e-cigarettes or other tobacco products by:
- Setting a good example by being tobacco-free.
- Telling them why these products are harmful and encouraging them to learn the facts and get tips for quitting tobacco products by visiting the Surgeon General’s e-cigarette website.
- Encouraging them to up an appointment with their health care provider so that they can talk to a medical professional about the health risks of e-cigarettes.
If you use tobacco and need free help quitting, visit smokefree.gov or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
For information about vaping, visit health.pa.gov.
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