Vaping Prevention Efforts in Washington

Crystal Shen, MD, MPH, FAAP
Co-chair, WCAAP Legislative Committee Chapter
AAP E-Cigarette Champion

Thank you to all who have helped advocate for youth vaping prevention policies and resources with our WCAAP advocacy efforts. Many organizations came together over the past legislative session to provide education about vaping/tobacco prevention policies and funding needs in our state. Our collective efforts helped lead to $5 million of funding from state funds during FY 2023 to support commercial tobacco and vaping prevention and cessation. There have also been opportunities to provide input to the WA DOH as they develop their plan for using the new FY 2023 funding for the state Commercial Tobacco Prevention Program. Since spring 2021, I have served as a founding steering committee member to help develop a new statewide coalition to prevent youth tobacco use, reduce nicotine dependence, and eliminate health inequities from commercial tobacco use.

I am pleased to announce the official launch of the coalition, Washington Breathes, on Monday September 26, 2022. The coalition has the mission of bringing together diverse partners from a variety of sectors to build capacity, collaborate, increase understanding, support cessation, and develop policy, systems, and environmental changes aimed at eliminating inequities and the negative effects from commercial tobacco use, sales and marketing.  

WCAAP joins organizations including Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, local public health departments, and multiple community organizations including American Indian Health Commission for Washington State, Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center, APICAT for Health, El Centro de la Raza, and many more for this ongoing work. 

We will work together to restore our state’s commitment to fund sustainable, community-centered programs providing effective, culturally appropriate services that address inequities and protect against tobacco industry tactics. As part of coalition principles

  • We support and advocate for comprehensive prevention policies, practices, and programs that effectively influence youth and young adults against initiating commercial tobacco use. 
  • We believe that reducing youth use of commercial tobacco products is best achieved and most equitable through supportive community-based interventions, rather than punitive measures directed at individuals. 

More about the Washington Breathes coalition is available on the website: https://washingtonbreathes.org/

There will be a coalition launch meeting on Monday September 26, 2022 10–11 AM PST. This virtual meeting will be a welcoming celebration of the formation of Washington Breathes! We will share ways to get involved in our next steps together and welcome your questions and ideas. If interested in joining, register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcude6ppjIoEtAnYfFrtJ6dTdBcWgLzYfRw 

What can pediatricians do to help youth who vape?

In addition to sharing this exciting news, as the Washington State AAP E-cigarette Chapter Champion, I wanted to share information and AAP resources for vaping prevention and cessation with WCAAP members.   

Please email me at cshen@wcaap.org if you are interested in learning more about this work or would like to learn more about resources about youth vaping prevention/ cessation, especially about using nicotine replacement therapy in adolescents.

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