Raising Awareness of Vaping, E-Cigarette Use, and Prevention

Health & Wellness, Innovations & Initiatives

01/15/2021

teenage girl sits in front of laptop wearing headphones

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, increased awareness is needed for an additional health crisis affecting young adults across the nation. In December 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared youth e-cigarette use, otherwise known as vaping, a public health epidemic.

E-cigarettes liquid containing nicotine, flavorings, and other substances are unsafe for youth and young adults. In 2019, there was an alarming rise in vaping-related lung problems called "Vaping Associated Pulmonary Illness" (VAPI) or Vape Lung. Because the symptoms of product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) and COVID-19 can be similar, the CDC recommends healthcare providers ask patients, especially teenagers and young adults, about e-cigarette and vaping use during COVID-19 evaluations.

Supported by Centene's foundational focus on whole health, the Centene Institute for Advanced Health Education provides health education for youth and young adults, all with the goal of driving early health literacy and preventive care. Centene's commitment to disease prevention extends to the Centene Institute Youth Impact Award for Vaping Prevention, a targeted curriculum for youth aged 14-19 to raise awareness about vaping, e-cigarette use, and prevention.

Running from mid-January to mid-April 2021, this initiative provides a forum for schools and community groups to educate youth on vaping, e-cigarette use, and prevention. Participants are asked to create 30–60 second Public Service Announcement (PSA) videos and identify ways to share information and awareness with their peers and community.

"The e-cigarette epidemic among youth, occurring concurrently with the COVID-19 pandemic, creates unchartered challenges for our nation's youth" said Mary Mason, M.D., Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer for the Centene Institute for Advanced Health Education. "Protecting youth from nicotine addiction and the lasting dangers resulting from vaping and e-cigarette use is particularly important during these unprecedented times."

Further aligned with Centene's commitment to saving lives and improving health outcomes, learn how Centene's OpiEnd program harnessed peer awareness for its Youth Challenge. Centene is dedicated to transforming the health of our communities. As part of fulfilling our purpose, the Centene Institute improves whole health outcomes in the communities we serve through interprofessional continuing education activities and enhancing disease prevention through education.