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. 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 8 selected teen co-researchers from our HEALYAC 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.