The prevalence of e-cigarettes has grown exponentially since they emerged in the mid-2000s, and their popularity and normalization has outpaced research on their safety. A tremendous gap exists in public health education regarding their potential short- and long-term health effects.
Because of increased use among youth and likely health risks, there are strong calls from government, researchers, and advocacy groups to develop youth-targeted prevention efforts. At the same time, scientific discussions continue about e-cigs’ potential value as an adult cessation tool or tobacco harm reduction alternative. This confluence fuels the normalization of e-cig use and misperceptions of their safety, leading to a growing public health problem. This is particularly true among youth, whose developing brains increase their vulnerability.
KDHRC is currently developing the AVOID toolkit, which will be anchored by brief, web-based videos designed to educate youth 12-16 years old on the potential risks associated with e-cig use. Community-based youth-serving organizations can use the videos and accompanying discussion guides to build youths’ knowledge, heighten perceived risk, promote anti-vaping attitudes, and decrease intentions to use e-cigs.
At the completion of the AVOID toolkit development, KDHRC will evaluate its ability to increase youth’s knowledge, heighten perceived risk, promote protective attitudes, and decrease intentions to use e-cigs.
KDHRC is currently developing the brief educational videos and online toolkit platforms to sustain AVOID. Please check back periodically for project updates.
Findings and outcomes related to the evaluation of the AVOID toolkit will be published in written briefs and peer-reviewed journals and presented at national conferences.