Generation Vape: HEAL youth advisory council bring a youth voice to the conversation
On March 10, 2020, representatives from the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory Youth Advisory Council (HEALYAC) presented at Generation Vape: The new era of lung injury, in partnership with researchers and clinicians from Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. The event provided an opportunity for the community to learn from clinical and youth experts about the health effects of vaping.
During their presentation, the HEALYAC shared their position statement on youth vaping, which was developed in response to the growing prevalence of vaping in school environments. Following the creation of the HEALYAC in the fall of 2018, its members have identified vaping as a major health that they and their high school peers are facing. After several council discussions that involved the sharing of anecdotal experiences, writing exercises, and an extensive review of existing literature on vaping and its health effects, the HEALYAC released their position statement to the public in October 2019, in hopes of having their voices and concerns heard by the community.
At this event, the youth experts expressed the need for additional vaping research, immediate implementation of government regulation, improved detection/enforcement in schools, as well as appropriate cessation and coping support for youth. The youth representatives participated in a panel discussion with other experts, bringing teens’ perspectives to the latest evidence on the health effects of vaping. The HEALYAC are now calling for greater efforts to educate students and the wider public about the potential health-related consequences of vaping. With the support of the HEAL and community partners, the council is continuing to gain momentum by taking action and heavily advocating for their recommendations to be carried out. They are continuing to present at various school board and city council meetings, conferences, and events such as Generation Vape to move this this issue forward.
The HEAL Youth Advisory Council (HEALYAC) from London, Ontario informs youth-related health research conducted by the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory (HEAL) at Western University. The council represents the diverse voices and perspectives of 16 teenagers from across the city of London.
For more information about the HEALYAC and its position statement on vaping, visit: theheal.ca/YAC
Below are some images from the event: