A person vaping. File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / ScoroplandA person vaping. File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / Scoropland

Health unit challenges Windsor-Essex students to 'break the vape'

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) has offered a mission to area students, should they accept it.

The health unit has launched its Break the Vape campaign to encourage students in grades six to 12 to take part in a video contest discussing the health risks of vaping.

"Participating in the Break the Vape Challenge encourages students to use their creative skills to develop messaging from youth for youth," said WECHU Director of Public Health Programs Kristy McBeth. "This youth engagement approach has been shown to resonate with their peers, parents, and the community, increasing awareness of the dangers of youth vaping."

From now until March 8, students may create and produce a 30-second public service announcement. It should include at least one Break the Vape fact, available on the health unit's website, and a call to action. The video may be in English or French.

All submissions will be reviewed, and youth judges will choose a top-five in two age divisions, grades six to eight, and grades nine to 12. Starting April 15, the top five in each division will be presented so the public can vote on the winners.

Prizes will be awarded to the student filmmakers who win the public voting, and to the publicly-funded schools with the highest participation rates.

The health unit has reported that the number of younger Canadians using cigarettes and other tobacco products has dropped over the past few decades. However, the availability of vaping products has resulted in a shift in young people toward vaping.

"Vapour products are the most used nicotine product among youth," read a release from the health unit. "The use of nicotine before age 25 can impact learning, memory, attention, and increase the risk for addiction to other substances."

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