JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS) - Missouri Governor Mike Parson has launched an public awareness campaign to educate, warn and deter the use of vaping devices among youth.
Gov. Parson kicked-off the state’s “Clear the Air” campaign during a media conference from his office on Monday, Nov. 18.
The campaign will bring attention to the risks of using electronic cigarettes and vaping products.
As part of the launching of “Clear the Air”, a website was created to warn youth about the health risks of vaping.
In addition to the website, fact sheets for educators, parents and medical providers are also in production. This includes posters for school facilities.
Cessation and addiction treatment information will be made available to Missouri schools.
To view the “Clear the Air” materials click here.
Educators present at the news conference related what they are seeing in the classroom statewide.
"It is alarming to hear that 20 percent of Missouri students are now addicted to vaping,” said Missouri PTA President Susan Rupert. “The educators and parents supporting these children need help addressing this epidemic. This youth-focused campaign gives our students the hard facts while also better informing and supporting our school leaders and families across Missouri as they address this urgent issue with their students.”
Law enforcement is also taking an active roll in cutting down the numbers of children getting their hands on vaping devices.
Agents with the Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) have emphasized enforcement efforts at retailers who sell vaping products this past month.
“Our enforcement operations show that across Missouri, 83 percent of retailers are checking IDs and refusing sales to those who are under age 18,” said Dottie Taylor, State Supervisor of the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control. “We’re confident that through continuing enforcement and merchant education and training we can move the compliance percentage closer to 100 percent. Even more important, we’d like to see fewer and fewer young people tempted by vaping.”
In October, Gov. Parson signed Executive Order 19-18 directing the Departments of Health and Senior Services, Elementary and Secondary Education and Public Safety to use existing resources to develop the vaping education campaign.
“Over the last 30 days, DHSS, DESE, and DPS have worked hard to develop this campaign, and we appreciate their team effort to bring awareness to the dangers of youth vaping and ensure a healthy public now and in the future," said Gov. Parson.
Since Nov. 15, there have been two deaths and 35 cases of lung injuries associated with the use of vaping products in Missouri.
Health officials report a majority of the cases involved individuals ages 15 through 24.
To learn more about the current lung injury outbreak, click here.