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"The issue of youth vaping has reached epidemic levels in our community," stated City Councilman Ron Salem, At-Large Group 2. "I am pleased a campaign can be developed locally to address this health issue."
The $200,000 campaign is financed through a public-private partnership, with the City and Daily's evenly splitting the cost. The campaign will feature a website, VapingGetsUgly.com, where visitors will find information about the health risks of using e-cigarettes and vaping; tips for parents, guardians and mentors to have conversations with children; and links to research from medical sources such as the FDA and American Lung Association. As an additional component of the campaign, the public will receive communications via PSAs, signage, and dedicated accounts on Facebook and Instagram (the social media handle for both sites is VapingGetsUgly). To encourage public involvement in spreading awareness, the website has downloadable posters and other materials for community members to display in businesses, classrooms, youth centers and other places where young people can be reached.
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Daily's CEO Aubrey Edge said: "I believe strongly that this public-private partnership with the City of Jacksonville will help this campaign reach its maximum impact. It is our hope that the advertisements, brochures and posters will generate honest discussions between Jacksonville's youth and their parents, role models and peers about the damage vaping can do to teenagers' minds and bodies."
The campaign was developed in response to several national and local studies that highlighted the prevalence of e-cigarette use among middle and high school students. The 2018 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey reported that 12% of Duval County's youth between the ages of 11 and 17 were current users of electronic vaping products. By 2020, the number had risen to nearly 14%. Researchers found that nicotine use in adolescents can harm parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control. Additionally, numerous reports have linked lung disease among teens and young adults throughout the country to vaping and e-cigarette use.
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"The data surrounding this issue is unsettling," said Mayor Lenny Curry. "Jacksonville's children are facing the temptation to partake in this dangerous activity every day, so it is our responsibility to educate them on the risks and help them on the way to making the smart choice. I am grateful to Councilman Ron Salem and Aubrey Edge for demonstrating their concern for the health and safety of our city's youth by taking the lead on this effort."
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