Plymouth State University Receives $48,000 CVS Health Foundation Grant to Help Prevent Teen E-Cigarette Use

Will support effort to inform and educate middle and high students and educators across New Hampshire

New Hampshire has the nation’s highest percentage of high school students reporting daily use of electronic vapor products (e-cigarettes), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Survey. To help address this growing problem, Plymouth State Universitys (PSU) Health and Physical Education Teacher Certification Program has received a $48,000 CVS Health Foundation grant to implement “CATCH My Breath,” an educational program that provides middle and high school students with skills to resist peer pressure and other influences.

“CATCH,” an acronym for Coordinated Approach to Child Health, includes classroom lessons, peer-led activities and social and community support to educate teens about the dangers of e-cigarettes.

“As evidenced by the recent outbreak of vaping-related lung illness in the United States, it is clear that the use of these products can have dire consequences, especially for our youth who are susceptible to becoming addicted before they even realize what the risks are,” said Timothy Losee, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Health and Human Performance, Plymouth State University. “This grant from the CVS Health Foundation puts Plymouth State at the forefront of combatting this serious problem here in New Hampshire, and gives us an opportunity to educate and inform thousands of students across the state on the risks associated with e-cigarette use to help them make better decisions.”

Through January 2020, students in the PSU Health and Physical Education Teacher Certification program who are preparing to complete student teaching or school health field experiences will receive CATCH My Breath training. They will then implement the program in 35 middle and high schools across the state in spring 2020.

Prior to participating, middle and high school students will complete a survey measuring their attitudes and behaviors toward e-cigarettes, then will retake the survey one week after completing the program to measure its impact. PSU is collaborating with Springfield College in Massachusetts, Manhattan College and the Sage Colleges in New York, and Monmouth College in New Jersey to implement the program and collect data on the program’s impact on student learning through June 2020. The data will be shared with CVS Health Foundation to quantify the program’s impact on e-cigarette use.

Student-teaching mentors from the 35 participating schools will also receive training from PSU so they may continue the CATCH My Breath programming once the student-teaching internships and school health field experiences are completed. PSU will also offer training sessions in spring 2020 for health and physical education teachers from other New Hampshire schools.

For more information about CATCH My Breath programming at PSU, visit http://catchmybreath.plymouthcreate.net/ or contact Dr. Losee at catchmybreath@plymouth.edu; for more information about Plymouth State University, visit www.plymouth.edu.