Thrives and BAPC look to youth vaping

REGION – West River Valley Thrives (Thrives) and Building A Positive Community (BAPC) substance use prevention coalitions in Windham County have jointly received a $26,500 grant from the Vermont Department of Health’s Youth Vaping Prevention and Treatment Enhancement Fund. This funding will allow Thrives and BAPC to expand their work with community partners to prevent and reduce vaping by local teens and young adults.

Vaping, the inhaling of an aerosol created by an electronic cigarette or e-cigarette, has become a popular practice in young people, both nationwide and locally, resulting in a troubling new health crisis. E-cigarettes heat a liquid until it becomes an aerosol, which is inhaled. The liquid can contain nicotine, marijuana, and other compounds such as vitamin E, all of which have been shown to cause serious health issues, especially in teens and young adults whose bodies and brains are still developing.

While vaping is a problem here in Windham County, according to the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), 87% of Windham County middle school students and 73% of Windham County high school students reported not actively using electronic vaping products. Of the high school students who reported using nicotine products, 51% stated they have tried to quit. The goal of the funding is to increase the percentage of youth living vape-free and the coalitions feel positive it can be done as there has been a verified decrease over the past six years in youth use of alcohol, nicotine, and prescription drugs within the Thrives’ and BAPC’s catchment area.

West River Valley Thrives’ mission is to support and promote healthy lifestyle choices with an emphasis on the prevention of alcohol, nicotine and other drug use by young people. Thrives serves a large rural area in southern Vermont that includes the towns of Brookline, Jamaica, Marlboro, Newfane, Townshend, Wardsboro, Windham, and their associated villages. Since its inception in 2012, Thrives has been making a difference by collaborating with a broad array of stakeholders to help reduce risk factors that can lead to substance use, while strengthening protective factors known to help young people succeed.

Building a Positive Community (BAPC) supports the greater Brattleboro community, including the towns served by the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union school district. It is BAPC’s goal and vision to foster a community that is free from the pressures and harms of substance use where youth are informed, supported, and empowered in making positive choices to live to their fullest potential.

To help in this effort and for more information, Thrives can be found at www.wrvthrives.org, and BAPC at www.BAPC802.org.

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