Vaping Prevention Newsletter
October 2023
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Since 2019, vaping of various substances has been identified as an emerging issue among Connecticut youth. The Local Prevention Councils across the state are working collectively to achieve the following goals:

  • Reduce vaping use rates by 5% by 2025 among 12-18 year-olds by targeting related risk and protective factors
  • Increase public awareness of vaping risks and prevention

The Local Prevention Council (LPC) program in CT is funded by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and is supported by the Regional Behavioral Health Action Organizations (RBHAOs). WCTC is one of the 5 RBHAOs. To learn more about your LPC- click here
From the CT Grant Program to Support the Services of Local Prevention Councils 2023-2024

During the Priority Setting Process of 2023, Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and vaping rose to the #2 priority issue in western CT as identified by WCTC stakeholders.
Local Data
While most youth in region 5 do not use ENDS or cigarettes, vaping rates are higher (15%) than smoking rates (2%).

(Western Connecticut Coalition Epidemiological Profile on Tobacco and ENDS, 2023)
Click here to view the 2023 Region 5 epidemiological profile on Tobacco and ENDS, part of our Regional Priority Setting Report.
Environmental Impact of ENDS
During the summer months, WCTC learned more about the environmental impact of ENDS and vape devices. Our journey began when we met with HRRA (Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority) Executive Director Jennifer Heaton-Jones and Regional Coordinator Tammy Thornton. We learned that proper disposal of these products is "complicated" and not standardized across the U.S.
Vapes and e-cigarettes contain:
  • liquid nicotine (acute hazardous waste)
  • lithium batteries (ignitible hazardous waste)
  • plastic
  • heavy metals like mercury, nickel and lead
It is not safe to throw ENDS into household trash. They must be brought to a hazardous waste collection facility.
But according to Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) less than 10% of these products are being recycled properly. Disposible vapes (very popular due to the availability of flavors) are especially problematic because you cannot remove the battery and they are encased in plastic.
Vape Trash
An excerpt from PIRG's report:
Vape Waste poses a growing environmental threat. According to CDC Foundation sales estimates, lining-up the disposable vapes sold in a year would stretch for 7,000 miles—long enough to span the continental U.S. twice.
WCTC Vape Trash Pick-Up Initiative
In an effort to understand how this impacts us in Region 5, WCTC staff visited several vape retailer parking lots and took photos of trash. We found lots of disposible and other discarded devices, pods and damaged batteries.
Next on our learning journey was the viewing of a compelling webinar hosted by NEWMOA (Northeast Waste Management Officials Association) with the FDA, EPA and the CDC:
We learned more about the negative impact vapes and e-cigarettes have on our environment. In her part of the presentation, Kristin Fitzgerald of the FDA, addressed the unique burden schools carry with respect to storage and disposal of products they collect:

Given the hazards of e-cigarette components, it is imperative that collected
e-cigarettes are stored in a safe manner prior to transportation and disposal
• EPA recommends following the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations for lithium batteries during storage prior to transport and wearing chemical resistant gloves when handling the e-cigarettes & components to prevent dermal absorption of nicotine (e.g., nitrile or latex gloves)
To Learn More:
In their report, A Toxic Plastic Problem: E-Cigarette Waste and the Environment, the Truth Initiative states "almost half of young people don't know what to do with used e-cigarette pods and disposible devices".

CT Department of Public Health Fact Sheet: Safe Disposal for Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS)
Recommended solutions from HRRA, PIRG and Truth Initiative include:

  • A ban of disposible vape products
  • Holding the industry responsible for waste produced by their products and for the safe disposal of all ENDS/Vapes
  • Raising awareness about this issue with our local officials and state and federal legislators
  • Clear regulation of these products
Statewide Vaping Prevention Resources
Vapefreect was developed by the CT Department of Public Health with the goal to help all people quit and avoid the costly health consequences of any tobacco product. Visit the webpage where you will find these resources:
  • Cessation support including tips for quitting, a text message program and the CT Quit Line
  • Education about the health impacts of vaping
  • Parent supports like conversation tips and how to build a child's self-esteem
Highlighted just last month in CADCA's (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) Coalitions in Action, this CT campaign uses social media influencers coupled with an educational webpage to address youth vaping. The campaign was developed through a collaboration between CT's Tobacco Enforcement Division and the CT Clearinghouse. The campaign's influencers use "unboxing" videos to relay prevention messages. Since the campaign’s launch in June 2023, the results have been impressive. The campaign videos received a staggering 177,656 views across various social media platforms, with 18,905 likes and 776 comments. A vaping quiz, health information and quit supports can be found on the website.
Vaping prevention includes cannabis prevention.
44.7% of youth in our region who reported vaping during the last 30 days reported they vaped marijuana (2023 Epidemiological Profile Tobacco/ENDS). Be In The Know is a CT statewide campaign aimed at reducing the harms of cannabis. The slogan "Legal for Adults doesn't mean safe for teens" addresses health concerns of youth use of cannabis:
  • Difficulty thinking and problem-solving
  • Problems with memory and learning
  • Decreases in sports performance and athletic ability
  • Poor coordination
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Increased irritability or aggression
  • Lack of motivation which can lead to poor performance at school or work
Get involved in Vaping and Tobacco Prevention
New True to You Coalition convened this fall to help promote tobacco-free living within the LGBTQ+ community. These efforts are led by The CT Clearinghouse with funding from CT DPH. Tobacco companies spend billions of dollars each year to aggressively market cigarettes, other tobacco products, and vapes to the LGBTQ+ community, increasing our risk for significant health and mental health problems.

The coalition is looking for new members!
DMHAS Prevention and Health Promotion Division:
Tobacco Prevention and Enforcement Program (TPEP)
Working with communities to inform retailers and the public about laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco to minors and support prevention through compliance inspections, education and awareness.

If you have concerns about retailers in your town, contact the TPEP HOT LINE: 1-877-331-1999

Check out the most recent edition of their newsletter The Responsible CT Retailer. We encourage you to subscribe.

Local prevention councils and other community organizations can obtain Tobacco 21 materials by contacting The CT Clearinghouse 800-232-4424. Visit their Prevention Education Program for Retailers page
Visit our website
for more vaping prevention materials