FLEMINGTON, NJ – A whole new generation is getting addicted to nicotine.
That’s what Peggy Dowd, the Program Director for One Voice of Hunterdon, says is happening because of the widespread use of e-cigarette (vape) use.
One Voice of Hunterdon is a faith-based prevention coalition and a partner in the county-wide project, “Hunterdon United for Vape-Free Youth.” In the past year, the Surgeon General declared vaping among youth a national epidemic and all five of Hunterdon’s high schools have seen a dramatic rise in teen use of e-cigarettes, Dowd said.
Hunterdon United is working with the Safe Communities Coalition and community leaders to address the growing concern surrounding youth vaping. One Voice works to provide information, education and resources through faith communities with the goal of increasing community outreach.
“The power of One Voice is to reach thousands of people in one weekend with an important message that affects our entire community,” said Rev. Harry Mazujian, Project Outreach Coordinator for One Voice. “Ideally, every place of worship would address this issue on the same weekend.”
One Voice faith leaders recently attended a community summit, where they learned about vaping and given materials to be distributed within their place of worship.
Each faith leader decides the best approach for their congregation. Suggested methods to share the knowledge include preaching as part of a homily or sermon, hosting a guest speaker on the topic for Youth Group or Parent Night, incorporating the material into Religious Education classes and including the issue in announcements and bulletins. All materials were also provided in Spanish.
Places of worship participating in the One Voice weekend summit or that have recently held education events on Teen Vaping include: Califon United Methodist Church, Cokesbury United Methodist Church, First Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hunterdon County, Flemington Presbyterian Church, Flemington United Methodist Church, Frenchtown Presbyterian Church, Grace United Church of Christ, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Victories, Readington Reformed Church, South Ridge Community Church, St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church, St. Magdalen de Pazzi Roman Catholic Church, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Stockton Presbyterian Church, The Salvation Army and Unity Spiritual Center.