A group of Morgan Hill teens known as the Warriors Against Vaping and E-Cigarettes team recently received a Youth Action Project grant to create a campaign to increase teen awareness of the health dangers of vaping and tobacco use.
The WAVE team is a subcommittee of the city’s Youth Action Council. The grant—provided by Breathe California and the Santa Clara County Public Health department—is youth driven, led by the youth and supported by adult allies, according to a press release from the City of Morgan Hill.
The grant provides local teens with the opportunity to share how vaping and tobacco impact their communities and highlight the disingenuous marketing strategies used by vape and e-cigarette manufacturers to get teens addicted.
“We’re working daily to make an actual change within our schools to promote the health of the students within them. Many of us know through personal experience how dangerous the vaping epidemic is through our own schools,” WAVE members Hassti Tirgardoon, Jorge Uribe and Giselle Naranjo said in a statement.
The $3,500 grant will enable WAVE to purchase promotional giveaway items and offer support for various activities within the awareness campaign, according to city staff. Plans for the campaign include hosting virtual anti-vaping and anti-tobacco awareness events addressing the reality of peer pressure. The campaign will also host a variety of social media and virtual challenges that promote healthy competition among teens to engage in anti-vaping and anti-tobacco activities, with the ultimate goal of inspiring teens to pledge not to vape.
WAVE’s first virtual event will take place 6pm to 7pm Jan. 15 through Zoom. For more information and to reserve a spot, contact YAC advisor Chiquy Mejia at [email protected]
“I’m proud of the WAVE subcommittee members for applying and being granted the Youth Action Project Grant from Breathe California and Santa Clara County Public Health,” Mejia said. “This will be a great opportunity for them to create and lead a peer-to peer online campaign on social media to grow awareness of the danger of vaping and tobacco use.”
WAVE was developed in 2019 as part of a grant awarded to the Morgan Hill Police Department from the California Department of Justice to combat the exponential rise of teen vaping in Morgan Hill and the region, city staff said. In 2019, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that 27.5 percent of high school students nationwide reported using e-cigarettes regularly.
The steep rise of teen vaping in Morgan Hill prompted the city council in 2019 to adopt an ordinance prohibiting the sale of flavored liquid tobacco products at tobacco retailers in Morgan Hill.
The grant’s activities will culminate with a community showcase of all the Youth Action Projects on Jan. 27, 2021 sponsored by Breathe California and Santa Clara County Public Health. This will be an opportunity for WAVE to share its successes in actively working to reduce teen vaping/tobacco use in Morgan Hill, according to city staff.