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E-cigarette education

Hannahville Indian Community to offer educational program with grant funding

MARQUETTE — While 99% of electronic cigarettes contain nicotine — a “highly addictive” compound that can harm brain development — only about a third of young adults ages 15 to 24 who use JUUL e-cigarettes know that they contain nicotine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan.

Furthermore, two deaths and 56 confirmed and probable vaping-related lung injury cases have been reported in Michigan since August, with patients ranging in age from 15 to 67, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Across the nation, 2,300 cases of lung injuries associated with the use of e-cigarettes or vaping have been reported, with nearly 50 deaths occurring, according to the CDC and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Due to this, the Hannahville Indian Community is rolling out its Anishinaabe E-cigarette and JUUL Health Education Project with funding awarded to the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan from the Superior Health Foundation.

“To help combat this problem in its area, the Inter-Tribal Council will increase knowledge and awareness on the dangers of vaping and JUUL among students in the Hannahville Nah Tah Wahsh School Academy and Bark River Public Schools, parents and the broader community, and expand policies that limit the use of vaping, in hopes of reduced usage and improve(d) health outcomes,” a Superior Health Foundation press release on the grant award states.

Officials are glad for the funding and look forward to launching the program, they said in a press release.

“We were eager to help the Hannahville Indian Community when they shared the need to address e-cigarettes and vaping among youth in their community, so we worked with Hannahville to submit our proposal to the Superior Health Foundation,” Noel Pingatore, director of the health education and chronic disease department at the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, said in a press release. “We are grateful to the Superior Health Foundation for their support of this much-needed project, here in Michigan’s rural Upper Peninsula.”

E-cigarettes, such as JUUL, are battery-powered devices that heat “a nicotine-containing liquid to produce an aerosol that is inhaled,” and “widespread use of JUUL by students in schools, including classrooms and bathrooms” has been reported around the nation, the press release states.

It’s important to offer this education, officials said, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found using e-cigarettes is “unsafe for kids, teens and young adults,” and there are few programs that aim to combat the use of e-cigarettes in these populations.

“Young children are at serious risk of ill health effects related to vaping, specifically JUUL products,” Kelly Hansen, health educator and certified tobacco treatment specialist for the Hannahville Indian Community, said in a press release. “Currently, there is a lack of education or any interventions to address the growing use of electronic nicotine delivery products, such as electronic cigarettes among young children. The Anishinaabe E-cigarette and JUUL Health Education Project will address this serious health issue by implementing the Catch my Breath curriculum.”

The programming will be delivered through the Catch My Breath curriculum, which “aims to inform and educate teachers, parents, and health professionals in the school and after-school setting to equip students with answers about e-cigarettes to make informed decisions,” officials said in a press release.

Furthermore, parent resources, slideshows, videos, service learning projects and the Stand with Catch My Breath grassroots team are available through the program, according to information on its website.

To learn more about the Catch My Breath program, visit catch.org.

For more information on e-cigarettes and vaping, visit www.cdc.gov/tobacco /basic_information/e-cigarettes/Quick-Facts-on-the-Risks-of-E-cigarettes-for-Kids-Teens-and-Young-Adults.html.

Information about the vaping-related lung injury for the public is posted at www.michigan.gov/vapelung.

The Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan is a 501(c)3 nonprofit consortium of all 12 federally recognized tribes in Michigan. Its mission is to “advocate for member tribes in the development of programs and policies which will improve the economy, education, and quality of life for Michigan’s Native Americans.”

Visit www.itcmi.org to learn more about the agency.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.