Empowered Voices: Plymouth High’s Stand Against Vaping

Feb 26, 2024

CADY YAAC LogoForward: We’re excited to feature a guest blog from the inspiring high schoolers at Plymouth High School in New Hampshire, active members of the CADY Youth Advocacy and Advisory Council (YAAC). This council follows the Youth to Youth Empowerment Model, emphasizing education, skill development, and real-world action to tackle issues. These students have taken a deep dive into the issue of vaping, exploring its effects on both their academic and social lives. Read on as these young advocates share their insights and efforts to address the vaping crisis within their school and the wider community. Check out their past guest blog, The Accessibility of Vape Products to Youth in Our Community: A Closer Look at the Consequences.

To many adults, the term “vaping” might just seem like a buzzword or a statistic that needs addressing. However, as high schoolers in New Hampshire (NH), the reality of vaping’s adverse effects is something we confront every day. We’ve seen peers preoccupied with their next opportunity to vape, coming up with ways to conceal their habit, or even caving to the urge publicly, setting off a domino effect within their friend groups.

person survey data icon bluePutting this into perspective, the 2021 NH Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) gives us some eye-opening statistics: 16.2% of students say they’re currently vaping or using some kind of electronic vapor product, and even more shocking, 31% have tried it at least once. These numbers really highlight how serious the issue of vaping is, showing us that it’s something we need to deal with right here at Plymouth High School.

Consider this scenario, one that many of us can relate to: you’re driving with friends to a basketball game, and there you are, sitting shotgun while someone in the car vapes. Suddenly, you’re stuck in a tough spot – should you ask them to knock it off, or just sit there, trying not to breathe in the vape cloud? This kind of situation is becoming way too common for us, even though it really shouldn’t be. Deciding whether to call out your friend or just deal with it can be super stressful. Vaping not only affects the health of the people participating, but also their relationships with their friends.

The problem with vaping isn’t just at parties or hangouts; it’s seen in our classrooms too. We’ve all experienced it – some of our classmates ducking out of class for a quick vape, disrupting not just their learning but the collective educational experience. This is especially noticeable in interactive classes like music and art, where collaboration is key. It’s disappointing to see peers return from these breaks visibly affected, hurting the group’s ability to learn effectively and undermining the success of joint projects, from musical performances to group artwork.

Vaping is affecting both our academic achievements and our social bonds. Through student-led advocacy and prevention initiatives, we’re committed to educating our younger peers in middle schools about vaping’s dangers, in hopes of curbing this trend. Our goal is to foster awareness and encourage healthier, vape-free environments for all students.

For those seeking more information on how to combat youth vaping, there are resources available. The Truth Initiative and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer a wealth of information, tools, and programs designed to educate and empower communities.

Interested in learning more? Check out the Save Your Breath campaign for further reading, partner resources, and tools for how to quit. Know someone trying to quit? My Life. My Quit. offers no-cost help for teens via text [text “Start My Quit” to 36072], web/chat, or calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

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