adolescent vaping epidemic
Photo credit: Horoshevych

Vaping has become increasingly popular among school-age Americans. A recent study found that 2.5 million U.S. youth vape. Relative to other nicotine products, young adults commonly prefer battery-operated devices like e-cigarettes, vape pens, and vaporizers that manufacturers can flavor with mint or cotton candy. Studies have shown that nicotine addiction is affecting younger teens in particular, who are often misinformed about the risks associated with vaping like addiction and lung damage. The World Health Organization and the FDA have described e-cigarette use amongst teens as an “epidemic” and called for schools to implement educational programs. Legislation has appeared across the United States proposing the implementation of vaping awareness programs and campaigns in educational institutions. 

Hawaii Bill Addresses Vaping Epidemic in Education

Hawaii Senate Concurrent Resolution 201 was introduced on March 8, 2024, to urge the Department of Education to implement anti-vaping awareness at schools. According to the bill, vaping would be prohibited at Hawaii public schools. Furthermore, the bill emphasizes the importance of creating middle and high school programs that combine peer support, therapy, and counseling to disseminate information about the dangers of vaping to students and teachers. Lastly, the bill acknowledges that punishment such as suspension and expulsion are not effective methods of minimizing smoking, and schools should focus disciplinary actions for vaping on rehabilitation, counseling, and prevention.

Bill Outlines Anti-Vaping Campaigns in New Jersey Schools

New Jersey Assembly Bill 2029 was introduced on January 9, 2024. The bill would direct the Departments of Health and Education to distribute guidelines for educational institutions to implement anti-vaping campaigns on their campuses. The departments would develop guidelines using research-backed material outlining the dangers of vaping or e-cigarette use to discourage adolescents and young adults from use. Campaigns would attempt to support students in positive decision-making through models and aids. The departments would also disseminate pamphlets to spread information. Furthermore, the departments would review the guidelines annually according to feedback from stakeholders, including school administrators, educators, and health professionals.

Bill Requires Anti-Vaping Education in New York Schools

New York Assembly Bill 8069 would require educational institutions to inform students, teachers, staff, and parents about the vaping epidemic. The Department of Education would collaborate with schools to provide information on resources for quitting smoking, set up a report system for vaping incidents, and create a system of support and guidance for students in schools regarding vaping. Furthermore, the bill outlines a range of government agencies, like the county public health department and nonprofit organizations, collaborating with education institutions to develop and implement anti-vaping awareness campaigns.

From The Experts

Expert insights from the authors at Duane Morris Government Strategies.


Ryan Stevens

The legislative efforts in states like Hawaii, New Jersey, and New York represent a growing recognition of the need for targeted educational programs to combat the vaping epidemic among youth. By focusing on prevention, education, and support rather than punitive measures, these states aim to significantly reduce the prevalence of vaping in schools.

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