Gándara Center is the host agency of the Hampden County Tobacco Free Community Partnership (TFCP), which supports smoke-free efforts of Springfield and surrounding communities in the home, school, and workplace.

On January 8, TFCP Director Sara Moriarty was on the WGBY Public Television show Connecting Point explaining why smoking cessation instruments such as vape pens and especially the JUUL device pose a risk to teens and tweens. “When e-cigarettes first hit the market, they were used as a way to curb nicotine addiction,” said Moriarty. “But when youth starting using them, we found that a whole new generation was getting addicted to these products.”

One of the problems with vaping, aside from the fact that it’s widespread among young people, is that the practice is fairly undetectable because the devices don’t emit the odors that are traditionally associated with smoking. Also, a JUUL is amazingly discreet—it looks just like a flash drive. Moriarty said there have been reports of students in the back of the classroom quickly and secretly JUULing “when the teacher turns around and writes on the chalkboard,” she said. Vaping and JUULing also affects immature brains and makes it easier for teens to later become addicted to other drugs.

On January 18, Moriarty will be one of the featured presenters at a Vaping Prevention Mini-Conference at West Springfield High School.

View the entire Connecting Point segment.

The Hampden County Tobacco Free Community Partnership

The TFCP helps to increase public knowledge of smoking as the leading preventable cause of death in Massachusetts; maintain MassHealth utilization rates in smoking cessation efforts; works to eliminate the sale of over-the-counter tobacco to youth; promotes the Ex-Smokers Hall of Fame project; and supports smoke-free housing efforts in Springfield and surrounding areas.

The TFCP also provides smoking related materials and education to professional health care providers about the negative effects of secondhand smoke and fosters relationships with the community and other human service agencies to ensure support for those who wish to live smoke-free lives.