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Children’s Minnesota launches anti-vaping campaign, warns of public health risk

The campaign includes a partnership with a TikTok influencer and other strategies to educate teens, parents and health care professionals about the dangers of vaping

MINNEAPOLIS (October 20, 2020) –Children’s Minnesota announced today the launch of a multimedia anti-vaping campaign, which includes a partnership with TikTok influencer Dr. Rose Marie Leslie, a family medicine resident who uses her social media platforms to speak to teens about health issues that matter to them. The health care system will also be creating a variety of educational materials including: a video series for inpatient teens, resources for parents to help guide conversations and specialized clinical content for health care professionals.

Watch some of Dr. Leslie’s viral videos on TikTok.

The campaign is funded by a generous donation from a grateful family of a patient who had been treated for vaping-related lung injuries at Children’s Minnesota in 2019. The family wanted to pay it forward and raise awareness to prevent other families from going through a similar experience.

“While vaping has been marketed as safe, it is a dangerous habit that can have devastating consequences. Like COVID-19, we are still learning about vaping and its long-term effects on the body, but we know that it’s linked to lung conditions and worry it may increase the risk for more severe COVID-19 symptoms,” said Dr. Anne Griffiths, pediatric pulmonologist at Children’s Minnesota. “In the midst of the pandemic, we need to be more vigilant than ever about educating the public health risk that vaping poses.”

Children’s Minnesota recently ranked among the top pulmonology programs in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report, and it was one of the first health care systems to warn about vaping in 2019 when a cluster of alarming cases emerged where teens were hospitalized due to vaping-related lung injuries. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, e-cigarette use is increasing among students. Data from Minnesota student surveys show 8th grade e-cigarette use nearly doubled from 2016 to 2019, and one in four 11th graders now use e-cigarettes.

“A lot of teens might not realize how dangerous vaping is, and social media can really get the message out there in a way they can relate to,” said Dr. Leslie. “I’m proud to partner with Children’s Minnesota on this campaign to raise awareness about this important health issue.”

About Children’s Minnesota

Children’s Minnesota is the seventh largest pediatric health system in the United States and the only health system in Minnesota to provide care exclusively to children, from before birth through young adulthood. An independent and not-for-profit system since 1924, Children’s Minnesota serves kids throughout the Upper Midwest at two free-standing hospitals, 12 primary and specialty care clinics and six rehabilitation sites. Children’s Minnesota is regularly ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top children’s hospital.

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Nick Petersen