Missouri Gov. Parson announces campaign to combat teen vaping
Gov. Mike Parson on Monday announced the start of a statewide youth campaign to raise awareness on the risks of using electronic cigarettes and vaping products at a press conference in Jefferson City.
The “Clear the Air” campaign derived from Executive Order 19-18, which was signed by Parson in October, according to a Monday news release by Parson’s office.
The order comes four days after health officials reported the second vaping-related death in the state of Missouri. Concerns about the health effects of vaping have increased since August when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced hundreds of cases of severe lung illnesses associated with e-cigarettes across the country.
The order directed the Departments of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and Public Safety (DPS) to use existing resources to develop a statewide campaign to educate, warn and deter the use of vaping devices among Missouri’s youth.
“Vaping is truly an epidemic among our youth, and we must take action now to educate them about the potential risks of these products,” Parson stated in the release.
The campaign aims to educate Missourians on the dangers associated with youth vaping by dispelling myths and providing facts about how the products and chemicals impact health and brain development.
According to the release, DHSS, DPS and DESE have worked with partners from additional state departments and external agencies over the last month to learn more about the epidemic and discover how existing resources could be used for education about e-cigarette use.
The social media portion of the “Clear the Air” campaign, which consists of graphics and a series of videos specifically targeting youth in Missouri, also began today with posts on Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.
Young Missourians can learn more about the issue on a website created for the campaign, at stopthevapemissouri.org.
“We greatly appreciate the governor’s initiative in bringing together different state departments and our external partners, which has significantly moved us forward toward our goal of preventing harm to both young adults and others,” Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams stated in the release. “The rate of teen vaping in Missouri is continuing to climb. We believe the ‘Clear the Air’ campaign is a great first step toward educating Missourians and changing this trajectory.”
Missouri Parent Teacher Association President Susan Rupert said in the release 20% of Missouri students are now addicted to vaping.
The campaign also aims to inform and support educators and families in Missouri so they can address the issue with their students or children.
In the release, Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven stated, “The ‘Clear the Air’ campaign is designed to better educate on the harmful effects of vaping and to provide educators and families with strategies to put an end to youth vaping in Missouri.”