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LISTEN: UMass Medical School tackles the vaping crisis

By Sarah Willey

UMass Medical School Communications

February 10, 2020

In a new Voices of UMassMed podcast, Tina Grosowky, instructor of psychiatry, discusses the vaping crisis in Massachusetts and the new UMass Medical School program that teaches school nurses how to help teens quit.

Grosowsky has dedicated her career to educating communities about the dangers of tobacco use. She is the coordinator of the Central Massachusetts Tobacco Free Community Partnership, a program of the Department of Psychiatry at UMass Medical School. Her work is aligned with the UMMS Center for Tobacco Treatment Research and Training, which was founded and directed by Lori Pbert, PhD, professor of population & quantitative health sciences. The center developed the statewide training program for school nurses to help teens quit vaping.

“Each pod of flavored nicotine is equivalent to a pack of cigarettes worth of nicotine,” said Grosowsky. “It’s very addicting for young people. It makes them dependent on nicotine very quickly.”

Forty-one percent of Massachusetts high school students have tried vaping, and one in five are currently vaping, according to the Massachusetts Youth Health Survey. That is a big reason why Grosowsky is working with colleagues to provide new resources to help reach teens who want to quit.

“We go into schools and talk to the staff and administration. We help them with their policies in their schools we help them with enforcement of their policies,” Grosowsky said.  

Information about vaping cessation resources for Massachusetts parents, communities and schools is available at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website www.getoutraged.org. Other resources include:

To listen to the new Voices of UMassMed podcast, visit: umassmed.edu/news/voices.

To be notified when a new episode of the podcast is available, subscribe on SoundCloud or iTunes.