Like school districts across the country, Northmont High School is grappling with the rising popularity of e-cigarettes among teens. The number of vaping-related offenses spiked during the 2018-2019 school year, prompting administrators to take preventative measures to ensure the trend does not continue. Leading the way is Student Assistance Counselor Sheree Coffman. Mrs. Coffman has served as the Student Assistance Counselor since 2007 and has a dual masters in Clinical Mental Health and Addictions Counseling from Wright State University. Coffman believes the best way to address this issue is to educate students on the dangers of vaping and the way it has been cleverly marketed. Therefore, she has spent much of her time this school year in front of a room full of social studies students talking about the dangers of vaping. Collectively, she has addressed 90 percent of the student population and has gathered survey data to measure how their attitudes have shifted. The results were overwhelmingly positive. Before the vape presentation, just 26 percent of students believed the presentation would be helpful to most of their peers. After the vape presentation, that number rose to 60 percent. Additionally, 87 percent reported that e-cigarettes pose some or great risk to their health.
In addition to the success of Mrs. Coffman's presentation, NHS has taken several other measures to tackle this issue. The code of conduct includes specific language to address consequences of using vaping devices, all bathrooms have visible messages about vaping, and a graphic about the dangers of vaping run continuously on the TV monitors throughout the building. Peer Facilitation, a student-led group, is also in the process of creating their own presentation and outreach efforts about the dangers of vaping.
Resources for Parents and Students
Prevention Action Alliance
JUUL & Youth: Rising E-Cigarette Popularity (Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.) An informative document about JUUL products
Know the Risks E-Cigarettes & Young People (U.S. Surgeon General.) A tip sheet for parents to talk with teens about e-cigarettes.
Please click here to learn more about a recent news story involving Cincinnati Children's treating a possible vaping-related illness.
Please click here to learn about the city of Milwaukee issuing a health alert urging people to stop vaping immediately.
Please click here to watch the video interview with Mrs. Coffman.