Assistant professor of pharmacy practice Sharon Ternullo, Pharm.D., is combating the rise of teen nicotine addiction in local schools. Awarded a Hancock County Community Partnership grant, Dr. Ternullo and a team of Findlay pharmacy students are educating high school students on the risks associated with e-cigarette use. Working with Findlay High School (FHS), Dr. Ternullo plans to impact over 400 students by providing in-depth education about e-cigarettes and support for students, including those who have violated campus policy.
E-cigarette use, specifically JUULing, has become one of the top student infractions at FHS. Violations on campus have risen 38 percent in the previous school year with the largest group of student offenders in the freshmen class. Rather than utilizing traditional disciplinary measures like suspension and removal of extracurricular privileges, Dr. Ternullo suggests this is an opportunity for an educational intervention rather than a punitive one. With a background in researching nicotine abuse and its impact on children, she believes that to truly stem the use of e-cigarettes, teens must change their perception of vaping as a safe activity.
The proposed program will take place in a classroom setting at FHS. Here, pharmacy students will use videos, active learning methods, puzzle boxes, slides, and written material to present objective information on nicotine toxicity and additional risks from the inhalation of flavorings that are, at this time, unidentified. A primary goal is to assist high school students in making the distinction between “safer than an unsafe choice” and a safe choice. Additionally, the program will work with high school students who have already been found using e-cigarettes on their school campus. As part of the teenager’s public service hours, they will work with the pharmacy students to provide educational material and hands-on learning for middle school students or other public groups interested in learning about e-cigarettes.
Findlay High School hopes that campus use of e-cigarettes will be minimized with the addition of this program. The program will be implemented through a required health course or the freshman mentorship program. For questions or more information, contact Sharon Ternullo at 419-434-5803 or firstname.lastname@example.org.