The Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i Island (TFHI) Coalition (a recent merger of the East and West Tobacco Free Hawai‘i coalitions) is geared up and ready to tackle the growing Electronic Smoking Devices (ESD) youth epidemic in Hawai‘i County. According to the latest data reported in the 2017 Behavior Risk Factors Surveillance Survey, 34.1 percent of Hawai‘i County high school students are vaping, an increase from 29.5 percent in 2015.
Similarly, 23 percent of middle school students are vaping as well! These rates are unacceptable and the TFHI partners are already ramping up education efforts for our students about the risks and harms of vaping:
- Last December, 12 Big Island substance abuse school-based counselors were trained via HIPHI’s & UH Hilo College of Pharmacy’s ESD Prevention presentation.
- TFHI partner, Candee Rillon from the Big Island Substance Abuse Council, recently presented to seventh and eight graders at Kalanianaole Intermediate and Ka `Umeke Public Charter School, in Hilo.
- In January, 10 staff members from the West Hawai‘i Community Health Center and one staff from Bay Clinic were trained to facilitate the ESD Prevention presentation for youth in middle and high schools in West Hawai‘i and areas of East Hawai‘i.
- Kathy Akioka and Kai Gacayan from the Hamakua Health Center, trained in March 2017, presented at Honoka’a Intermediate School to eight graders on February 26 and 27, 2018.
Hawai‘i County now has 38 trained facilitators sharing the dangers and risk of vaping with our youth.
Over the next few weeks, UH Hilo College of Pharmacy students will be presenting at Kamehameha Schools Middle School and at various public and private schools throughout East Hawai‘i.
We hope to shift the tide of rising youth use rates and raise awareness of the dangers of ESDs, a much-needed message that is not being heard enough in Hawai‘i County.
The request for presentations across Hawai‘i County is phenomenal and we are ready to meet the needs of our schools. If you would like more information about the ESD Prevention Presentation or would like to schedule a presentation at your school/agency, please contact Hawai‘i Island Community Coordinator, Sally Ancheta, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 808-936-2686.