North Dakota Sets Focus on Educating Youth on E-Cigarettes

 Published: October 10, 2018

By: Heather Willden


young man holding e-cig

The North Dakota Department of Health developed a new position statement to include e-cigarettes in its tobacco prevention efforts, helping to educate parents and youth on the dangers of using electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

Expanding tobacco prevention

In keeping pace with the rise of e-cigarette products, the North Dakota Department of Health expanded its tobacco prevention and control work.

According to Neil Charvat, tobacco prevention and control program director for the North Dakota Department of Health, ENDS are a recently developed, lightly regulated product.

“ENDS quickly developed into a product that was aimed at youth,” Charvat said. “This results from vague, inaccurate nicotine levels in many products, candy-like flavors, and false claims of not having any dangers associated with the products.”

Charvat and his team treat ENDS as tobacco products, and their promotion to and use by youth are a new priority in their work.

Education is key

Also working to educate families, Tobacco Free North Dakota (TFND) advocates for policy change and community mobilization. According to TFND Executive Director Heather Austin, TFND believes that education on the dangers of electronic tobacco products and vaping is important to preventing youth initiation.

“With little to no regulation around these products, our youth are being exposed to detrimental levels of nicotine,” Austin said.

She feels members of youth need to be educated “in the hopes of beginning a ripple effect that empowers kids to stand up to peers, to have conversations with parents and school and community leaders, and that helps those already addicted receive support and resources to quit.”

Advancing the mission

“States need to determine how to best educate their citizens on the dangers of these products,” Charvat said. “There are many national resources to assist them in their efforts, notably from the FDA and CDC.”

Keep the conversation going

How is your state addressing the use of ENDS by youth? Start the discussion at AARConnect.

Email with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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