The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is launching a media campaign to warn students in 3,500 schools throughout the state about the dangers of vaping. There’s nothing safe about vaping.That’s the message the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) will be sharing with youth as they return from holiday break this week. PDFNJ, in collaboration with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, has unveiled a media campaign about the dangers of vaping that will be distributed to each of the more than 3,500 schools in the state.The new campaign is being released in the midst of a nationwide explosion of teen use of vaping devices or e-cigarettes, which the United States Surgeon General declared has reached epidemic levels.“Vaping can inflict significant damage to one’s health, especially for youth,” Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey Executive Director Angelo Valente said. “We want teens throughout the state to know the risks they are taking if they choose to use e-cigarettes and to encourage them to avoid using these potentially dangerous products.”The campaign, which emphasizes the risks associated with vaping by comparing e-cigarette use to skydiving without a parachute, also will appear on billboards, trains and buses throughout the state. The messages include a pathway to gather additional information at VapeFactsNJ.com, the New Jersey Department of Health’s website on e-cigarettes and vaping.“The popularity of e-cigs and vapes among youth threatens to reverse hard-fought declines in adolescent smoking and create a new generation of nicotine addicts,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “We must raise public awareness about the dangers of vaping to prevent another deadly addiction epidemic from taking root in our communities.”Authorities warn that e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which makes vaping devices just as addictive as regular cigarettes. (Courtesy of VapeFactsNJ.com)Vaping is considered less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes and tobacco products, because e-cigarettes contain fewer toxic chemicals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, like regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and makes vaping devices just as addictive as cigarettes.Nicotine raises blood pressure and spikes adrenaline, which increases a person’s heart rate and the likelihood of having a heart attack. Nicotine affects the development of adolescent brains by changing the way synapses are formed, which can negatively change parts of the brain that control attention and learning, according to the Surgeon General. Recent data also links vaping to chronic lung disease and asthma.As of December 27, 2019, the CDC reported that 2,561 people throughout the United States had been hospitalized with severe lung injuries caused by vaping. This outbreak also was responsible for 55 deaths. In New Jersey, there have been 53 confirmed and 46 probable cases of vaping-related illness and one death, according to the Department of Health.In 2019, more than one in four high school students reported using an e-cigarette in the previous 30 days, according to preliminary results from the CDC’s annual National Youth Tobacco Survey.The results indicated a significant increase in teen vaping, up from 20.8 percent of high schoolers in 2018 to 27.5 percent in 2019. The use of e-cigarettes has exploded in the past decade, especially among teens. In 2011, just 1.5 percent of high school students said they used an e-cigarette.
I must respond to your News Insight item ’Crunch time for training’ (27 June), to address what seems to be a lack of understanding regarding the important and entirely positive developments currently underway in bakery training in the UK.You say that “a storm is brewing at the heart of bakery training”, when in fact there has never been a better period of collaboration among stakeholders in all parts of the sector, who are working together to find innovative and workable ways of improving skills. And to say there is seen to be “a growing gap between the theoretical needs of the industry and practical hands-on experience that courses need to give their students” simply scrambles the issue.Over the last two years, the problem that employers and training providers have been working in partnership to try to resolve is that there was a growing gap between the actual (not theoretical) needs of the industry and the often-irrelevant experience (whether theoretical or practical) that some courses gave to their students. For this reason, after much research and widespread consultation, the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) in food manufacture have been reformed to make them much more respondent to demonstrating competence in the workplace. Consultation has been open to all with an interest in skills, and opportunities to get involved, either by simply responding to drafts online or by becoming a member of a consultative group, and this has been widely promoted.In addition, a range of new Vocationally Related Qualifications (VRQs) have been introduced. These are primarily for young people looking for a relevant course of study before seeking their first job, and for those of any age who want to develop their careers by acquiring knowledge and skills that are complementary to, or add value to their existing jobs. NVQs and VRQs are different qualifications to meet different needs. Neither is on the way out.As with all such developments, there is an onus on training providers at all levels to progress their own professional development by getting involved in open consultation processes and keeping abreast of completed changes, studying them, and getting to grips with the best way of implementing them. This is a necessary challenge for trainers if we are to improve skills in food and drink manufacturing.Funding for courses is a perennial problem, but this is an issue for training providers to resolve with the Learning and Skills Council. The sector skills council is responsible for strategic skills planning, not funding for courses.One of my senior colleagues offered to attend the bakery lecturers and trainers forum in Sheffield, referred to in your report, to answer questions, but the offer was not taken up. I hope Improve will be informed of the outcomes of the meeting, so I can find out if there is anything we can do to aid better understanding of the changes taking place.Jack Matthews, chief executive, Improve (the food and drink sector skills council)