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Vape pen

Adolescent Health Issue

Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use among high school students has increased at a staggering rate. According to the United States Surgeon General, e-cigarette use is higher among youth than adults and has become a national epidemic. These high-dose nicotine products are a direct gateway to traditional cigarettes and cause a number of health issues in addition to nicotine addiction.

Nearly three out of five high school smokers also use e-cigarettes. Of the $9.5 billion spent annually by the tobacco industry throughout the country, an estimated $210 million is spent in Alabama each year.

Escape Vapes aims to prevent and reduce adolescent use of e-cigarettes, which have become popular among young people as a “safer” alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes. E-cigarettes, however, can be more dangerous than traditional cigarettes. Escape Vapes uses education to inform and stop adolescent use of these substances.

Our Response

Youth in ten Alabama counties engaged in social marketing and prevention activities designed to improve adolescent health and prevent the use of vapes, e-cigarettes, and hookahs.

The Escape Vapes Youth Nicotine Prevention Project was made possible through generous funding from the Alabama Department of Public Health Youth Tobacco Prevention and Control Program and the Children’s Trust Fund of Alabama. Human Sciences Extension partnered with schools, community groups, faith-based organizations, and after school programs across the state to address electronic nicotine delivery system use.

Our Reach

More than 9,100 Alabama youth were educated on the dangers of using vape products. Of the 9,107 young people reached, survey data was collected on approximately 25 percent or 2,185 adolescents.

A diagram of the diversity of the audience.

24.5% of Alabama high school students currently use e-cigarettes. Each year, more than 2,200 Alabama young people become new daily smokers. Smoking-related health care costs the state $1.88 billion a year.

Our Impact

Through this program, young people have gained understanding and knowledge about e-cigarette use as seen in their survey responses:

  • Nicotine affects the brain.
    • 69.5% (1,425) reported that they increased their understanding of how nicotine affects their brain.
  • E-cigarettes can contain nicotine.
    • 65.6% (1,345) reported that they increased their knowledge that e-cigarettes can contain nicotine.
  • One JUUL pod has as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes.
    • 77.1% (1,568) learned that one JUUL pod has as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes.
  • Vaping and JUULing have long-term effects.
    • 67.6% (1,373) reported that they increased their knowledge of the long-term effects of vaping and JUULing.
  • What is in a JUUL pod?
    • 79.5% (1,599) learned what is in a JUUL pod.
  • E-cigarette, vape, and JUUL pod manufacturers target young people.
    • 68% (1,370) reported that they learned how e-cigarette, vape, and JUUL pod manufacturers target them.
  • Using a hookah is as harmful as smoking cigarettes.
    • 73.1% (1,480) increased their understanding that using a hookah is as harmful as smoking cigarettes.
  • Knowledge helps gain confidence to avoid nicotine products (cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, hookahs, vapes, JUUL pods)
    • 32.1% (652) reported that they increased their confidence to avoid nicotine products.

Our Outputs

  • $189,600 Amount of funding
  • 12 Community events 189 Presentations
  • 802,956 Statewide Social Marketing Campaign Reach (Montgomery, Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile listening areas)
  • 26 Schools
  • 10 Counties participating *
  • 29 Radio markets airing social marketing messages
  • 27 Community partners
  • 9,107 Youth participants
  • 21 PSAs developed by kids
  • 2,185 Surveys collected
  • 1 Video produced

*Counties: Butler, Lowndes, DeKalb, Cherokee, Jackson, Madison, Etowah, Blount, Marshall, Cullman


Download a PDF of Escape Vapes, FCS-2330.

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