Broomfield Takes Action to Educate and Inform Youth about Dangers of Vaping
Oct 01, 2019 12:00AM
By Tina Eichner
The rise in popularity of vaping device and electronic cigarettes can absolutely be described as
meteoric with millions upon millions of American users since the phenomenon first came about
in the mid-2000s. Like tobacco before it, diet pills, and even cell phones, new modern discoveries
that are ingested or somehow “used” by our bodies, sometimes don’t reveal their true effects until
after the passage of time.
This seems to be the case with vaping, with mysterious cases of lung disease and even death
hitting the national headlines by the day, each with a supposed connection to this smoking
alternative. As the Center for Disease Control and other research and medical organizations
search for answers, it is difficult to not notice the proliferation of vaping right around us,
especially with younger people.
Colorado leads the nation in youth use of vapor products, with 27 percent of teens currently
vaping. In Broomfield and Boulder counties, 36 percent of teens report vaping. Broomfield Public
Health and Environment staff have partnered with schools and youth-serving organizations to
educate the community about the risks of vaping. Encouraging teens to say “YES,” to better
In one effort to combat the situation in Broomfied, early last summer the City of Broomfield held
a “Hand It In” event, encouraging Broomfield residents 18-years-old and younger to hand in their
vaping device in exchange for a free three-month Paul Derda Recreation Pass with no questions
and no judgment. According to Alison Harvey, Senior Strategy Officer for Public Health at
Broomfield’s Health and Human Services Department, 17 youth came to the event and were
given recreation passes in exchange for their vaping devices. Participants were also offered
information on how to quit vaping. Harvey said similar educational efforts are being considered
as well as several direct outreach strategies.
“Broomfield Public Health and Environment works jointly with Boulder County Public Health
and Tri-County Health Department to serve Broomfield schools,” said Harvey. “Public health
staff from these agencies have been talking with parents about vaping and its potential harms at
PTO meetings, back-to-school information nights, and wellness events. We provide tips on how
to talk to children about vaping, and direct parents to resources such as broomfield.org/vapefacts ,
speaknowcolorado.org , and tobaccofreeco.org .”
She added, “In addition to educating parents, Public Health and Environment staff have been
meeting with school administrators, counselors and nursing staff to share evidence-based
prevention and cessation tools. Broomfield Public Health and Environment is also educating and
raising awareness in the community by running ads in movie theatres, on bus shelters, and
through social media directed at parents, caregivers, and youth.”
In response to the recent outbreak of lung-related illness, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE,
the state health department) issued health alerts on August 30, describing reports of severe
pulmonary illnesses being potentially related to vaping.
CDPHE said, “The best way to protect yourself against vaping-related illness is to stop vaping.
While this investigation is ongoing and the definitive cause of reported illnesses remains
uncertain, people should consider not using vaping products. People who vape and have
experienced sudden and severe lung problems should contact their doctor or local public health
agency. People who vape should be aware that this illness is occurring and be on the lookout for
symptoms: shortness of breath or trouble breathing, chest pain, cough, fatigue, and possible fever.
Parents should talk to their kids, especially teens, about the risks and dangers of vaping. Free
resources are available to help parents talk to their kids at tobaccofreeco.org .”
Harvey explained how more specific actions are being looked at in Broomfield. “Changing local
laws and policies is another effective way to reduce youth access to vape products. Broomfield
Public Health and Environment presented a number of evidence based policy options at a
Broomfield City Council study session in August. In response, City Council requested ordinances
to be drafted that would require Broomfield retailers to secure a license to sell tobacco/vape
products, raise the legal minimum sales age to 21 years, and expand Broomfield’s smoke-free
ordinance to include prohibiting vaping in public places,” she said. The first reading for the
proposed ordinances was planned for late September.