Photo Credit: The American Heart AssociationThe American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, is teaming up with Schiller Americas and CVS Health to enact change in the community to end youth vaping through policy change and education.
Every day, over 3,500 of our kids start vaping across the country. The number of students who use e-cigarettes and other vaping devices has skyrocketed. Because of these statistics and the associated health risks, the American Heart Association is focusing its efforts on creating a digital marketing awareness campaign to share the dangers of vaping for teens/youth and parents. Schiller Americas and CVS Health are important community leaders that will help further the fight against tobacco use in our youth.
“We are so honored to assist the American Heart Association to put an end to youth vaping,” said Francesco Iacona CEO of Schiller Americas and Founder of Hub.io Health. “The increase in tobacco use in our youth and teens can continue to have a drastic effect on their health if change is not made. This cause is a great one to be fighting for, and we are hopeful that we can be a force in the community to make the necessary changes.”
Approximately 20 percent of high school students and 5 percent of middle school students use e-cigarettes – a total of more than 3.5 million teens. Despite what teens have been told, vaping products are not safe for youth. Youth who vape are particularly susceptible to nicotine addiction, which rewires the developing brain. The educational messaging featured in the #TobaccoEndGame campaign will ensure kids and parents know that vaping is no better for your health than smoking cigarettes. Without swift action, millions of students are at risk for a lifetime of nicotine addiction and increased risks of tobacco-related diseases and premature death.
“The policy change that increased the minimum purchase of tobacco age to 21 years old was a monumental step taken in our community,” said Jen Campbell, Executive Director of the South Florida American Heart Association. “However, there is still work that needs to be done to ensure we prioritize the health of our youth and fight for change in the mindset around youth tobacco use.”
Photo Credit: Getty Images/The American Heart AssociationIn December of 2019, we finally succeeded at increasing the purchase age for tobacco products to 21. A TRL ordinance would require all retailers of tobacco and nicotine products, including vape shops, to obtain an annual retailer permit and raising the age of sale to 21 to align with the new federal Tobacco 21 law. There should also be a meaningful penalty structure, with fines and license suspension for those retailers who sell unlawfully.
Senate Bill 1080 and House bill 987 currently making their way through the Florida Legislature are tobacco preemption legislation that threatens the ability of local governments to create TRL ordinances that would enforce compliance of tobacco and nicotine retailers. The American Heart Association is working diligently to ensure minimum legal sales age is being enforced, flavor restrictions are being followed, and where applicable, taxes are being collected.
All concerned members of our community are encouraged to visit www.yourethecure.org to let your voice be heard by our policymakers and local school boards. Our goal is to push for tougher tobacco regulations and laws to protect our youth from vaping.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health, and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter, or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.