Addressing Youth Vaping in Addison County: A Community Approach

Since 2016, United Way of Addison County (UWAC) has been a hub for youth substance prevention funding and programming. We are committed to creating environments that prioritize success, and we focus on improving the lives of all youth and families in our region. Since 2019, UWAC staff members have led the county’s first substance prevention-based coalition known as PEEPS (Partners Encouraging Environments that Prioritize Success). This past year the coalition expanded to include all topics related to public health and advocacy, recognizing that youth substance use can be a symptom of bigger problems, such as mental health or early childhood trauma. Embracing other public health topics is vital to improving our coalition efforts. Turning Point Center of Addison County is another local agency addressing substance misuse and harm reduction by providing support services for people in recovery. UWAC and Turning Point Center have partnered on prevention and recovery efforts for more than six years. Most recently, UWAC was the recipient of a Vermont State Vaping Grant, which includes further partnering and aligning with Turning Point Center through a vaping media campaign and school policy scan. 

This project will promote evidence-based resources from My Life, My Quit, 802Quits, Parent Up VT, and smokeSCREEN for vaping cessation and prevention. We will also conduct a scan of our local school policies and restorative justice practices, reviewing specific policies regarding student substance use and possession. Restorative justice practices assess the harmful impact of an offense and then figure out a way to repair the harm and hold the person accountable for their actions. A school policy scan will help inform UWAC staff and our coalition on how we can best serve the school communities by increasing our local policy knowledge and expertise. We also hope to provide our school communities with more resources and guidance that will support efforts to improve public health among students. Policy work is vital to improving substance use prevention outcomes, whether locally in towns and schools or at a state level; enhancing and improving public health policies increases the likelihood of success.

This new funding enhances our community's capacity to address youth vaping across Addison County. We appreciate the support from the schools and our valued partner at Turning Point Center. 

Eager to learn more? We would love to hear from you! Email Celia Heath with any questions or ideas.