Escape the Vape Youth Video Contest Returns for 2022 | From Minnesota Department of Health
Students to educate peers on the harms of e-cigarette use.
January 5, 2022
Escape the Vape, a youth vaping prevention video contest, is coming back for 2022. Minnesota middle and high school students are invited to create and submit a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) video to educate their peers on the dangers of e-cigarette use, also known as vaping. Submissions will be entered into a competition for cash prizes for both students and their schools.
Escape the Vape is a collaboration between a broad group of Minnesota organizations who are working to reduce youth e-cigarette use. The objective of this video contest is to engage youth to use their voices and inform their peers about the dangers of vaping. The first year of the competition had more than 110 entries from high school students across the state. Contest organizers expect to double the number of entries this year by adding a middle school division.
“We believe that this contest is a crucial piece of peer-to-peer sharing regarding the dangers of vaping, including the mental and physical health harms associated with the high nicotine content in e-cigarettes,” explained Elyse Levine Less, Executive Director of Tobacco-Free Alliance and one of the contest organizers.
The 2020 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey (MYTS) revealed that one in five Minnesota high school students reported having vaped in the past 30 days. Among middle school students, three percent reported having vaped in the past 30 days.
“Even more troubling, 70 percent of these kids are showing signs of nicotine dependence- like intolerable cravings, and 63 percent are having trouble quitting,” said Sharrilyn Helgertz, PhD, data scientist and MYTS administrator for the Minnesota Department of Health. “However, we’re encouraged to also find that half of students who use e-cigarettes want help to quit.” Minnesota teens can get free help to quit from My Life, My QuitTM by texting “Start” to 36072 or visiting MyLifeMyQuit.com.
More than 2 million U.S. youth are using e-cigarettes, also called vaping, according to the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey. Flavored commercial tobacco products appeal to youth. E-cigarettes come in thousands of flavors, and teens who use flavored e-cigarettes are more likely to keep using them. Recent data show that 8 out of 10 youth who use e-cigarettes use flavored products.
“We know that kids use substances for different reasons that mainly fall into two categories – to have fun or to cope,” added Helgertz. “I suspect the stress of the pandemic has exacerbated e-cigarette use and the risk for addiction among youth who vape to escape or numb negative feelings.”
Youth participants from last year also hope the contest will inspire change.
“I really hope this year’s contest can encourage my peers to find their voices and advocate for resistance against vaping,” says last year’s first place winner Ashley Zhou, a current 10th grader at Wayzata High School. “Last year’s contest was not only an eye-opening experience in terms of the independence I was given, but it was also a rare chance for me to get out of my comfort zone and be creative. The process taught me so much, and I encourage anyone even considering it to just enter. I can’t wait to see what this year’s contest brings!” Ashley and three other finalists from the inaugural Escape the Vape contest are serving as youth advisors for this year’s contest.
Video submissions will be accepted February 1-28, 2022 through the Escape the Vape website. Each video submission will be reviewed by a team of youth and adult judges. Five finalists will be selected, whose videos will be posted on the Escape the Vape website on March 23. Online voting will determine the final rankings. Voting will be open to the public at Escape the Vape from March 23 April 26th.
Learn more about the contest and enter your video at Escape the Vape.
About the Escape the Vape
Escape the Vape is a collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Health, CCF Advertising, Tobacco-Free Alliance, Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota, Minnesota Youth Council, and Change to Chill by Allina Health.