April 3rd and April 4th, 2019
The LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth (LCAHY) hosted two community forums to address youth use of e-cigarettes, vapes, and JUULs. The Tobacco Prevention Coordinator of the SC Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services informed individuals about the types of e-cigarettes being used by youth, the risks of these products, and the marketing strategies used to target teens. Young adults of the LCAHY youth coalition, Teens for Healthy Youth (THY), spoke candidly about the alarming increase of teen use of e-cigarettes, vapes, and JUULs as they observed in their teenage lives. They gave the youth perspective on these products and what could be done by the twelve sectors of the community to reduce teen access, use of these products, and change cultural norms. LCAHY developed and distributed a two-sided fact card that contained information about Juul E-cigarettes and their dangers on one side and information about the coalition on the other side. Multiple local media sources covered the event prior to, during, and after the event. One-hundred and forty community members attended the forums. LCAHY consultant and developmental psychologist developed a pre-questionnaire to measure individuals’ perception of harm and teen access to these products. A post-survey was developed to determine what these individuals learned from the forum. The results of these questionnaires indicate that 98% of people who took the survey reported that they learned something about e-cigarettes and its associated problems that they did not know before attending the forum, 53% agree E-cigarette/Juul use is a public health concern, and 56% believe it is very easy for a youth to get e-cigarettes/Juuls. The results will guide LCAHY to strategize on ways to reduce teen access to e-cigarettes/Juuls. Also, the mayor of both towns attended the event and plans to collaborate with Teens for Health Youth in town initiatives to promote positive teen health. LCAHY will continue to monitor this alarming trend, educate the public, and conduct environmental scans that include collecting data on e-cigarette, vapes, and JUULs. The LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth is a recipient of the drug-free communities grant.