MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - South Florida school leaders and officials are coming up with methods to tackle the rise in e-cigarette use among teenagers.
Students were introduced to a new kind of anti-smoking campaign in the auditorium of Miami Beach Senior High School, Tuesday.
The message from community leaders is simple: nicotine addiction is dangerous no matter how you smoke it.
Officials took direct aim at e-cigarette manufacturers, criticizing them for its detrimental effects on students’ health.
“They could care less what it does to your body. They could care less what it does to your future,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said. “They could care less what it does to your dreams. All they want is to get you hooked.”
This particular campaign targeted e-cigarette use and vaping, something exploding in popularity recently among teens.
“Enough is enough. This is about waking up the student body, the young people in our community and sending a strong message to the big tobacco companies,” Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said.
Carvalho pointed to the tobacco companies, placing much of the blame on them for the surge in teen vaping.
“A lot of money is being spent on marketing, on advertising, these e-cigs, in very appealing ways to kids,” he said. “You know, lacing them with pleasant odors and candy.”
The efforts are already taking hold at Miami Beach Senior High. Students took a hands-on approach to keeping e-cigs out of the hands of their peers.
“I mean, it’s difficult because teens have a mind of their own, and sometimes they don’t listen to adults, that’s true,” student Diana Alvarado said.
“That’s why we are students. We know them, and we can help them out, you know?” student Lorena Castano added. “I feel like it’ll be more. It’ll impact them more if it comes from their actual friends and not from adults.”
Miami-Dade County Public Schools said they are taking the initiative district-wide, with more than 800 students already signing the pledge to live tobacco-free.
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