Vape pens and e-cigarettes are intended to be an alternative to other forms of tobacco, but despite the fact that they’re intended for use by adult smokers, these products are troublingly popular among teens and young adults.
The data is particularly concerning in Colorado, where according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, as reported by the Denver Post, more than 25 percent of high school students vape — more than doubling the national average. In Broomfield and Boulder counties, that number is more than 36 percent.
Solutions to problems that large require a multifaceted approach, but one rec center is doing its part by offering a vape/e-cigarette exchange policy to teens younger than 17. Kids in Broomfield, Colo., who turned in a vapor pen or e-cigarette product on Monday received in exchange a three-month recreation pass, including access to the town of Broomfield’s water park.
The program was launched by Broomfield’s Department of Public Health and Environment, which hopes the collaboration with community recreation will get young people involved in a healthier way.
Jason Vahling, director of the Broomfield Department of Public Health and Environment, told the Post that anti-vaping programs targeting teens are particularly important.
“We’ve made such inroads in decreasing youth smoking and we don’t want to see ourselves creating the next generation of tobacco users,” he said, noting that vape products likely gained popularity among that age cohort because of a mix of curiosity, the desire to fit in and underestimating the health risks of such products.
“One of the most effective tools we have in our toolbox is policies that change social norms,” Vahling told the Post.