JERUSALEM (VINnews) — In a tragic incident which occurred last week in Israel, a 16-year-old boy whose lungs had collapsed and who was on an Ecmo life support machine detached himself from the machine for unknown reasons and died almost immediately afterwards.
The 16-year-old had been vaping for a long time before his lungs failed and in the wake of his untimely death, the Israei Health Ministry has decided to invest in a campaign highlighting the dangers of electronic cigarettes, according to a Yisrael Hayom report.
The campaign, the first of its kind, will cost 1.5 million shekel, and focus on comprehensive education for both parents and teens. Among other things, the initiative will include activities by social media influencers in coordination with the Education Ministry, parents’ leadership, the National Council of Students, and others.
Though vaping became popular four years ago and electronic cigarette producers regularly target minors, until now there has been no campaign aimed at protecting minors. In addition, there are no programs to help minors break their addictions – all of the health funds’ programs, as well as the hotline, are aimed at adult smokers. At the same time, the Health Ministry has noted that a program to help teens wean off electronic cigarettes is already being developed.
At a Tuesday meeting of the Committee for Fighting Drugs and Alcohol, data was presented showing that 10% of tenth-graders, 4.4% of seventh- and eight-graders, and 3% of sixth-graders have already tried electronic cigarettes. In the Arab sector, the numbers are even higher: One out of every three teens has tried smoking.
Health Ministry data shows that in Israel, one out of every seven teens ages 14-17 has smoked an electronic cigarette in the past month. Both the US and UK have similar numbers.
The Committee will now hold a special discussion on the activities to prevent smoking-related damage. The discussion will include suggestions as to additional steps which can help limit the use of electronic cigarettes.
“We, the professionals, will do everything in order to prevent the next death,” Dr. Efrat Aflalo, head of the Health Ministry’s department charged with promoting health, said, according to Israel Hayom. “The death of Medan, following the collapse of his lungs, is a wake-up call. Electronic cigarettes are very dangerous. Teen smoking is a behavior which can be prevented.”