RD194 - Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth 2021 Annual Report
The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth (VFHY) remains steadfast in its commitment to tackling the two leading causes of preventable death: tobacco use and obesity, as well as a rising concern, substance use.
VFHY has been working relentlessly on reducing youth tobacco use and has seen positive results. Since 2001, middle school smoking rates in Virginia have declined from 10.6% to 2.4% and high school smoking rates have declined 28.6% to 5.5%. It is estimated that our work contributes to preventing over 118,000 of Virginia’s youth from smoking each year. Unfortunately, youth continue to be at risk for vaping (using e-cigarettes) products such as nicotine and marijuana (cannabis). Behind the Haze, VFHY’s vaping prevention campaign, implemented three statewide messaging campaigns between August 2020 and June 2021 with each one reaching at least 90% of Virginia youth ages 13 to 18 years old.
Lastly, I want to briefly mention how VFHY has worked to make education opportunities more accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic with the launch of the Empower Series —a collection of virtual events aimed to help youth, advocates, and decision makers empower themselves and others to make healthy choices. We are inspired by the positive reaction the platform received and by the thousands of people who have attended an Empower Series event.
/s/ Marty Kilgore