The city of Jacksonville is partnering with the convenience store chain Daily’s on a new public awareness campaign that aims to keep teenagers from vaping.
The U.S. Surgeon General has declared youth vaping an epidemic and the FDA says millions of high school and middle school students use addictive e-cigarettes.
According to City Councilman Ron Salem, the situation in Jacksonville is worse than in most cities.
“The 2018 Florida youth tobacco survey reported that 12% of Duval County’s youth between the ages of 11 and 17 are current users of electronic vaping products. By 2020, that number had actually increased to almost 14%,” Salem said during a news conference Tuesday morning.
Researchers say nicotine use in adolescents can harm parts of the brain that affect attention, learning, mood and impulse control. Vaping and e-cigarette use have also been linked to lung disease in teens and young adults throughout the country.
“The data surrounding this issue is unsettling,” said Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. “Jacksonville’s children are facing the temptation to partake in this dangerous activity every day, so it is our responsibility to educate them on the risks and help them on the way to making the smart choice.”
The $200,000 campaign is being financed through a public-private partnership, with the city and the Jacksonville-based Daily’s splitting the cost down the middle.
The campaign will feature a website, VapingGetsUgly.com, along with public service announcements, signs inside stores and social media accounts.
“I believe strongly that this public-private partnership with the City of Jacksonville will help this campaign reach its maximum impact. It is our hope that the advertisements, brochures and posters will generate honest discussions between Jacksonville’s youth and their parents, role models and peers about the damage vaping can do to teenagers’ minds and bodies,” said Daily’s CEO Aubrey Edge.