GREAT FALLS — Vaping among high school students has increased by 78% in the past year alone. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, more than 10.7 million kids between the ages of 12 and 17 are at risk for using e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes, and often times can resemble something other than a tobacco product. Some of the most popular devices like JUUL and myblu are as small as a USB flash drive, and can even look like them.
Great Falls has several outlets for teens and others who need help quitting, including the Alliance For Youth.
“We identify gaps in the community,” explained Alliance For Youth Prevention Program Manager Beth Price Morrison. “Whether it be in the school district, or law enforcement, or healthcare, and write grants to find funding to provide, whether it was training, or services to help fill those gaps.”
One new resource for teens in Montana and around the country is My Life, My Quit; the website provides youth with supportive tools that are designed to make quitting easier. Among those resources are a quit coach, supportive text messages, an educational program about how to cope with stress in ways other than vaping.
“My Life, My Quit,” said Great Falls Public Schools Prevention Specialist Jody Murray, when asked about specific resources that are available to teens in the Great Falls community. ”That has a lot of information for teens about nicotine, and vaping, how to quit, and those things about what it’s doing to you.”
Both Murray and Morrison also stressed that nobody should have to fight the battle of quitting nicotine alone.
“That takes the parents, it takes the schools, it takes the community,” said Morrison. “It takes peer-to-peer, takes students amongst yourself, educating yourself, so that you can realize, just because your buddy is doing it, doesn’t mean that you should.”
- The above article and video were created and produced by students in the video-production class at Great Falls High School as part of KRTV's participation in the Scripps Literacy Project.
Scripps Literacy Project
Hey everyone! This is Matt Holzapfel, reporter and anchor for KRTV. I wanted to take some time and share a few of my thoughts on the Scripps Literacy Project, National News Literacy week, and most importantly what I took away from working with some of the students at Great Falls High School last week.
So, the purpose of News Literacy Week with our corporate owner, The E.W. Scripps Company, is to emphasize news literacy as a fundamental skill for both professional journalists and youth in America. I think that’s really important because it’s something that a lot of people just expect, and we get to the point, well where are people learning this? How do we get these kids who want to be in news, who want to be passionate?
I know I personally wasn’t exposed to the possibility of working in television, and more specifically local news, until I was in college. These students that KRTV reporter Jen Houseman and I got a chance to work with last week absolutely knocked it out of the park. They’re getting their hands on cameras earlier than I did, creating inspiring content earlier than I did, and getting real world experience earlier than I did, and it’s truly an awesome thing to see. It really, truly reinforced my faith in the future of media and the future of journalism.
Jen said the following quote in our story about working with the kids: ““Getting the opportunity to work with these kids is something that I remember doing when I was in high school. I had the same teacher, Mr. Wiles, and took video production classes and so being able to take those skills that I learned in video productions from Mr. Wiles and be able to see where I’m at today in my career and how I wouldn’t have had some of those skills if it wasn’t for these classes. It’s just been really cool. Being able to talk to some of these students especially and see what it is that they’re working on, what they like about their classes, and what their goals are for the future has been the best part of this.”
I’m not from Montana originally, in fact I just moved here from North Carolina last August, so my interactions with Great Falls Public Schools and the faculty, staff, students and parents there has been somewhat limited up to this point. Despite that, it’s clear to me that what these kids are learning in school, and the work that they are putting in is, in a word, remarkable. If you gave me two words, I would throw “outstanding” in there as well.
One of the coolest things to me about the kids that came here was that they were so involved and so into it, and that allowed Jen and I to really step back and say ‘this is your project, we’re here to help and to guide you.’ We let them complete control over this and they really made their project and their story and they did a really good job.
The themes for this week can found in this press release from Scripps, and I’d like to talk about one of them for a moment: Journalism as democracy’s watchdog. I always think of the Washington Post motto, which is ‘democracy dies in darkness.’ It is our job to shed light on things that people might not want light shed on, because that’s our role and we report on what’s important, and if we don’t it goes unnoticed. The fact that there were kids coming in who were excited and super passionate and really wanted to make this a great story is really encouraging for me to see as a journalist, that there’s still a new generation of people who want to make this their job, and it gives me a lot of faith in the future of journalism. We have a lot of roles in the journalism industry, and they’re not just to go in at 9-5 every day. Everyone here at this station and all over Scripps is working super hard, probably over 40 hours a week, working as hard as they can because they care about their jobs, and that’s what makes journalism such an important career, because this is not just you come in, you do your work, and you go home, everything you do every day inspires people, affects people, changes the way people live their lives, and that’s a really important role, and I think we need to make sure we don’t take that for granted.
Great Falls High School, you’re killing it. Keep up the great work.