HEAL awarded CIHR’s Health Effects of Vaping Catalyst Grants

Increasing evidence of harms associated with vaping has led the Government of Canada to identify youth vaping as a major public health concern. While medical research helps to discover how vaping is linked to these harms, research is needed to understand the social and environmental factors influencing the rapid rise of vaping among teens in Canada.

Among 27 projects across Canada funded through CIHR’s Health Effects of Vaping Catalyst Grants – a partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society ­– HEAL researchers were awarded two grants to (1) study the availability and accessibility of vaping products, and (2) co-produce research about how and why youth vape with teens.

Geospatial analyses of vape retailer accessibility: examining socioeconomic and environmental determinants

While the Canadian regulatory landscape of vaping products is rapidly changing, there are currently no federal or provincial regulations restricting the location of vape retailers or their proximity to schools. As a result, Dr. Jamie Seabrook, and a team of Western researchers will examine how the accessibility of vape retailers and municipal and school board vaping policies vary in relation to the proximity of schools and the characteristics of neighbourhoods throughout Ontario.

The project consists of three objectives: First, it will understand Ontario vape retailers in relation to schools (elementary and secondary) and neighbourhoods. Second, it will analyze vaping-related regulations and policies within Ontario municipalities and school boards to identify how they address youths’ potential exposure to vaping. Finally, it will examine how potential policies for restricting vaping locations might have an impact on the accessibility of vape retailers.

The team of researchers includes Jamie Seabrook and Jason Gilliland as co-principal applicants, and co-applicants Kelly Anderson, Gina Martin, and Jacob Shelley.

Check out the research team’s interview about the project here.

Teens talk vaping: A qualitative integrated knowledge translation study to co-produce vaping research and educational tools with teens

The HEAL Youth Advisory Council (HEALYAC), comprised of 16 high school students from across greater London, Ontario, independently identified vaping as a concern for them, giving impetus for this project. The HEALYAC are calling for research to better understand young people’s firsthand experiences with vaping to ensure that research and educational resources resonate with them. Dr. Jason Gilliland, Dr. Stephanie Coen, and researchers from the University of Calgary, and Western, along with collaborators from the London District Catholic School Board, the Middlesex London Health Unit, and Southwestern Public Health will co-produce research with teen co-researchers to understand how teens come to vape, why they vape, and the social contexts around vaping.

This participatory project aims to understand how factors such as gender, race, socio-economic circumstances, and place – as well as physical distancing because of COVID-19 – shape teens’ vaping. To encourage candid discussions about vaping, researchers will hold online focus groups where teenagers can use avatars and pseudonym screen names to participate, as well as in-person friendship group interviews when face-to-face contact resumes. This project will inform the development of evidence-based vaping education materials by-youth-for-youth, as well as for decision-makers and parents.

The team of researchers includes Stephanie Coen and Jason Gilliland as co-principal applicants, and co-applicants Shauna Burke, Eugenia Canas, Rebecca Haines-Saah, Chantelle Richmond, and Javeed Sukhera. 

Stay tuned for project updates!

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