The Power of Prevention Podcast Shines Light on Youth Vaping

Dec 20, 2022

The most recent episode of The Power of Prevention Podcast is focused on a growing public health crisis — youth vaping. Guest Kim Coronis, Policy and Program Director at Breathe New Hampshire (NH), joined host Christin D’Ovidio to discuss the issue. This broadcast provides insights about why youth are so attracted to vaping and how to help them avoid this serious public health threat.

For years, public health activists, healthcare professionals, youth, and community coalitions worked tirelessly to counter the slick advertising of the tobacco industry in order to achieve the decline the state has seen in youth smoking rates. However, the tobacco industry is now engaging in the same illegal strategies and marketing their emerging nicotine-delivery products to youth. And, it is working. The use of e-cigarettes and disposable vape products is surging among youth. It is worth noting that selling products containing nicotine to anyone under the age of 21 is illegal in NH.

What makes vaping so attractive to youth?

vape marketing flyerThe devices, designed to appear modern and attractive, appeal to youth’s sense of style and their desire to fit in and be attractive. They are presented as harmless, and not associated with smoking. In fact, e-cigarettes are marketed as a tool to help adults quit smoking, which provides a mixed signal for youth.

“We’re looking at thousands of flavors, and hundreds of device types. They come in very attractive sleek designs, and they’re colorful,” said Coronis. She went on to say that vaping products don’t have the odor or smoke of cigarettes, making their use less noticeable. It can be concealed more easily than traditional smoking products. She pointed out that some NH schools now have personnel who monitor the restrooms because the use is so high.

The products continue to evolve. Some look like Tic Tacs, toothpicks, strips that dissolve, and even flavored chewable gummies. None of these items are regulated, meaning there is no way of knowing what all of the ingredients are or how much nicotine they contain. Some contain lab-produced (synthetic) nicotine, which is of even greater alarm.

“What many people don’t know is that e-cigarettes often contain high levels of nicotine, a powerful and highly addictive substance that impacts the development of the adolescent brain. Substances like nicotine, cocaine, alcohol, all affect and impact the reward center of our brain,” said Coronis. “The reward center releases dopamine and adrenaline, which make us feel good.

Coronis went on to identify additional concerns about youth vaping including research that shows young people who have used e-cigarettes are more likely to transition to traditional cigarettes or other tobacco products. “In general vaping irritates and inflames lung tissue, which makes you more susceptible to other respiratory problems,” she said. Additionally, the aerosol that’s created from vaping can contain very fine particles, which can settle in the lungs over time.

What can parents and caregivers do?

This episode also touches on some of the reasons why youth vape, tools and strategies to prevent youth from using the products, and how parents can be involved.

man supporting teen while sitting on a couch insideWhen parents, teachers, and other caring adults connect with the young people in their lives about the things they value and are important to them, they help them build the skills to cope with difficult situations in a positive way. Talking to youth about the facts and negative consequences of vaping and nicotine addiction will guide their future decisions that will ultimately impact their health. As with every podcast interview, you can find links to additional resources to dig deep into the topic.


The Power of Prevention PodcastThe Power of Prevention Podcast provides important information about the prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances. Produced by The Partnership @drugFreeNH, each episode features some of the great work taking place in the Granite State in the prevention arena. The Power of Prevention Podcast series is available on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcast, or at The Partnership’s website. You can subscribe to the series wherever you listen.

For more information and resources, visit The Partnership’s website!

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