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Winners of West Hartford’s ‘Escape the Vape’ PSA Contest Announced

The West Hartford Prevention Partnership partnership established the PSA contest this year.


West Hartford Community Interactive (WHCi), Town of West Hartford Social Services, and the West Hartford Prevention Partnership (WHPP) are pleased to announce the two video submission winners in the “Escape The Vape” Public Service Announcement Competition.

This was a contest established by the WHPP (West Hartford’s Local Prevention Council) to highlight the dangers of youth vaping. As part of the project, students attended a virtual video training and educational workshop with WHCi’s Executive Director Jennifer Evans, Director/Editor Nild Sansone, West Hartford Social Worker Kelly Waterhouse, and Yale Senior Research Assistant Tricia Dahl. Dahl has worked on a series of clinical trials in the area of adult and adolescent substance abuse and is extensively involved in the dissemination of research findings about e-cigarettes to local communities. The winners are:

“Vaping Isn’t Cool,” directed and produced by Eleanor Farquhar, uses stop motion animation techniques to get out the message about the dangers of vaping. Eleanor is an eighth grader at Bristow Middle School.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to work on this anti-vaping campaign,” she said. I learned a lot throughout the  process of making my PSA, especially the relationship between vaping and mental health. May is mental health awareness month, and serves as a reminder for families regarding the importance of having open discussions with their children about mental health, and ensuring that kids have access to the resources they need to support their mental health.” You can watch her submission on YouTube below.

“What’s In Your Vape?” was directed and produced by Miles Moynihan, and provides vivid imagery of the unexpected metals and other toxins that can be found in a vape. Miles is a 10th grader at Conard High School and when asked what made him want to enter the contest, he said, “Kids at my own school vape, and I wanted to learn more and send a message about how it affects young people.”

His video can be seen on YouTube below

These videos were selected to be shown at the Wellness Resource Fair that was held on Saturday, April 30 at Charter Oak International Academy, and were also showcased on the Town of West Hartford’s Social Services Facebook page during National Prevention Week, May 8-14. They were also shared on the the WHCi YouTube page, and via email with local community groups.

CT Department of Public Health reports the following dangers regarding Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) Use with Connecticut youth:

  • Aerosol from ENDS products can contain and emit nicotine, carcinogens, heavy metals and other toxic substances
  • ENDS are the most prevalent form of tobacco product used by high school students – the use rate tripled between 2011 and 2015, and then doubled between 2015 and 2017
  • Over 27% of high school students have ever tried vaping compared to about 15% who have ever tried smoking a conventional cigarette
  • ENDS use increases the risk of youth and young adults using combustible tobacco
  • More than half of high school students who ever tried ENDS products reported using their devices for substances other than nicotine, such as marijuana, THC or hash oil, or THC wax
  • Long term effects of vaping include learning and cognitive deficits, memory issues, mood disorders, loss of impulse control, and addiction.

Kelly Waterhouse, Social Worker at West Hartford Social Services and the Liaison for the West Hartford Juvenile Review Board (JRB), notes that West Hartford youth are also vaping at alarming rates, contributing to school disruptions, behavioral concerns and JRB referrals. She acknowledges and appreciates the West Hartford Prevention Partnership’s efforts to call further attention to this issue.

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