Goal Statement: The goal of my Social Change Portfolio is to establish a prevention program that can be initiated in middle schools and other community sources here in Berkeley County, to help educate our youth on the negative effects and consequences of vape use. I would also like to reduce the use of vapes in middle school through high school-age students by 2% every year for the next six years. I will help accomplish this goal by providing educational classes to both parents and students at least two times a year during special events like red ribbon week and spirit week. I will also try to recruit guest speakers to who the youth can relate, like social media personalities that may be trending on platforms like youtube, Instagram, or tik tok.
Significant Findings: According to the CDC, the most common form of tobacco product use in youth is the e-cig (CDC, 2020). Bronfenbrenner’s social-ecological model (SEM) was developed to help understand how humans develop relationships in the social system levels of family, friends, neighborhoods, organizations, and society (Campbell, 2021). Vaping is a serious issue that needs to be exposed and prevention programs need to be started at least in middle school-age youth, if not elementary-age youth.
Objectives/Strategies/Interventions/Next Steps: Strategies to prevent and reduce the use of e-cigarettes in Berkeley County youth need to be approached on all levels.
- Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) is the best prevention theory for my population of youth that vape. It focuses on the fact that individual factors, environmental factors, and human behavior all influence each other (National Cancer Institute, 2005).
- On an individual level youth need to be educated so that they can make a healthy choice. On a relationship/community level, the youth need to be surrounded by positive influences and participate in productive and healthy community events and programs. Finally, on a societal level, the marketing strategies and famous personalities on social media need to be directing the youth in a constructive direction.
- A few prevention programs that are based on SCT are CATCH My Breath (CMB) (Kelder et al., 2021) and the “Above the Influence” (ATI) campaign (Calder and Schulze, 2015).
- A community-level program that was launched by the FDA in 2014 to reduce the use of tobacco among youth is The Real Cost campaign. In 2018 e-cigs were added to this campaign (SAMHSA, n.d.)
- The other piece to helping our youth is to advocate for and with them as well as getting them resources that they may not be able to obtain on their own. When counselors do this they should use the Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies (MSJCC) as a guide to be sure they are acting in an ethically and culturally competent manner.