HEADLINES

Grants Offered to Fairfield County Communities to Help Curb the Youth Vaping Epidemic

Local Prevention Council (LPC) Grant Applications Open to Those Interested in Curbing the Vaping Epidemic Within Their Community

Grant recipients will be awarded funds to implement substance use prevention strategies in their communities to improve the health of the population.

Although cigarette use has declined, use of vapes or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), has continued to rise at a steady rate in Southwestern Connecticut. School surveys conducted in the region in 2021 concluded that a quarter of high school students are still vaping and two-thirds of those reported vaping marijuana. When it comes to vape products, 99% of the products contain nicotine, however most youth are unaware of that. They believe vaping is safer than traditional cigarettes, which has been proven to be false. In fact, early exposure to nicotine can cause harm to the developing teen brain. For all of these reasons, vaping has been identified as a priority “problem substance” by the state.

“Tobacco control efforts are largely conducted through Local Prevention Councils (LPCs), municipal health departments, and school systems, with different levels of investment that depend on local community resources and grants, such as the LPC grant,” said Marc Donald, Executive Director of RYASAP. “In order to continue this important work, members of the community are invited to apply for an LPC grant every year and we are now accepting applications for the next fiscal year. We look forward to working with our community partners to ensure youth have healthy and productive futures.”

Anyone in Region 1, which encompasses Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Wilton, Weston, Westport, Easton, Bridgeport, Trumbull, Monroe, Fairfield, and Stratford can submit their applications for consideration by noon August 19, 2022. LPC grant awards are based on the town’s population and all funds must be spent by the end of the fiscal year in 2023, with the expectation that all deliverables are completed. 

Since vaping has been identified as the problem substance, all LPCs will focus efforts on vaping prevention and education and will work toward the following goals:

  • Reduce vaping use rates by 5% by 2025 among 12-18 year-olds by targeting related risk and protective factors.

  • Increase public awareness of vaping risks and prevention.

Local communities have already begun outreach in this area. They have created task forces, campaigns and health education curriculums. LPCs have also pooled their funds together and created Let’s #mentionprevention campaign: How to talk about vaping, which is being used and promoted throughout the region. The LPC grants will allow them to continue and expand these initiatives. 

“The LPC efforts in educating the youth and the community have been accepted positively,” said Daniella Arias, MPH, CHES Program Coordinator for The Hub. “There are youth who are working with their LPCs on addressing vaping and working together to get their peers educated as well as connected to resources and as a result there are more youth who understand the dangers and choose to quit vaping.” 

The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services’ (DMHAS) Prevention and Health Promotion Division, in collaboration with the Regional Behavioral Health Action Organizations (RBHAOs), annually fund over 150 community-based Local Prevention Councils (LPCs). 

To learn more about the grant requirements and how to apply, visit www.thehubct.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The Hub will hold a virtual Q and A session on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 from 10:30-11:30 am. To register visit thehubct.org/events

The Hub is the state-designated Regional Behavioral Health Action Organization (RBHAO) serving Southwest Connecticut. They are a regional resource supporting and coordinating mental health, suicide awareness, substance use prevention and problem gambling efforts in 14 communities from Greenwich through Greater Bridgeport and serve as the liaison between the region and state. They also support Local Prevention Councils in each town to prevent substance use and promote mental health, and bring consumers and providers together through Catchment Area Councils to identify needs and recommendations in the treatment and recovery systems. The Hub is a program of the Regional Youth-Adult Social Action Partnership (RYASAP).

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