Breakthrough for Youth Vaping Epidemic

Primary Submission Contact

Ashley Oakes

Faculty Sponsor

Zheng Li

Faculty Sponsor Email Address





Public Health

Document Type

Oral Presentation


Spring 4-28-2022


In 2021, approximately 1 in 9 high school students reported that they had used electronic cigarettes in the past 30 days (CDC, 2022). This use of electronic cigarettes combined with the lack of knowledge and understanding of this addiction has resulted in a vaping epidemic in the U.S. The goal of the Catch My Breath program is to increase the knowledge in youth aged 10 to 18 about the dangers of electronic cigarettes. The aim of this study is to assess the beliefs and knowledge about electronic cigarettes within the target audience (5th-12th graders). In the initial study of the Catch My Breath program, 380 students (153 fifth graders and 106 eighth graders) and 121 high school students from Porter County participated in the study. An educational intervention was implemented to reduce youths' inclination to vape. Pre- and post-surveys were used to measure current beliefs and knowledge on vaping. Following the initial survey, the youth were educated on the basics of vaping and the dangers of vaping via four fifty-minute educational classes. Since the program started in January 2022, 80 of the 121 high school participants have successfully completed the program. Initial results of the program have been proven to be an effective educational intervention as there was a significant increase in knowledge of vaping by 46.9% of the responsive participants. Education on the dangers of e-cigarettes should be provided to all school aged children and adolescents.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

I graduated in 2021 with my bachelor’s in public health and plan to graduate with my Masters in December. I did my internship last year in an opioid women’s recovery home. I wanted to broaden my research to other addictions. I found that youth vaping was a major program, so I wanted to help make a difference. My goal after I graduate is to work with addictions and continue to make a difference.

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