Tobacco-Free Hawaiʻi Island (TFHI) Coalition members have been educating students, parents, school administrators and faculty, about the harms of Electronic Smoking Devices (ESD’s) for several years. With the tremendous youth use increase in Hawai’i Island middle schools and high schools, nicotine dependency, and the need for intervention, has increased. One of our West Hawaiʻi TFHI members, West HI Community Health Center (WHCHC), is helping teens break-free of nicotine addiction and vaping dependency with a new, free walk-in clinic, based at a West HI high school campus.
In collaboration with Konawaena High School, WHCHC staff facilitate a weekly walk-in vape clinic for students to assist with the e-cigarette issue.. Claudia Hartz, Community Health Educator, Nathan Hakeem, BH Case Manager, and Katherine Stene, Pediatric BH Case Manager, are at Konawaena High, and employ motivational interviewing skills to help students set up a quit plan for overcoming the addiction. Since the onset of the clinic in October of 2019 the WHCHC team has seen 54 students.
Students attending the clinic are referred by administration when they are caught violating tobacco/ESD use policies on campus, or through peer to peer referral and self-referrals. The WHCHC team utilizes motivational interviewing, psychoeducation, linkage to resources, and therapeutic support, developed from ongoing trainings, to assist youth struggling to quit vaping and to end their nicotine dependency. During the walk-in clinics, there is also peer to peer support. Some students from the Coalition for Tobacco-Free Hawaiʻi Youth Council attend the clinics and educate their peers about harmful chemicals found in electronic cigarettes. Our community is lucky to have this resource and caring staff.
The walk-in clinic is held at Konawaena High School every Thursday from 10:30 a.m. -1:00 p.m. For more information, contact Claudia Hartz by phone (808) 491-9233 or email CPhartz@westhawaiichc.org.