As the number of teens using e-cigarettes, also known as vaping, continues to grow in southern Illinois, several local agencies are partnering to invite educators in the region to participate in a teacher training to help students overcome e-cigarette use.

Participants can enroll in one of two virtual options — today, Monday, March 28, from 2:30-4:30 p.m. or Friday, April 1, from 9-11 a.m. — by contacting Cherie Wright at or calling 618-457-5200, ext. 67844. Information is also available by visiting Southern Seven Health Department on Facebook.

The two-hour teacher training will equip educators to use the CATCH My Breath program; a peer-reviewed, evidenced-based youth vaping prevention program developed by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Huston (UTHealth) School of Public Health for grades five through 12. The program provides up-to-date information to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions about the use of e-cigarettes. CATCH My Breath uses a peer-led teaching approach and meets National and State Health Education Standards.

In addition to training on CATCH, teachers will receive increased knowledge on the current trends of vaping among youth and Professional Development Credits upon completion.

According to America’s Health Rankings (, in recent years, there has been an increase in popularity of e-cigarettes, especially among youth. E-cigarettes often contain nicotine and other cancer-causing chemicals, and have been linked to lung injuries, hospitalizations and death.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reports that e-cigarette use by high school seniors is higher than cigarette use was 10 years ago. Between 2016 and 2018, e-cigarette use in Illinois increased from 18.4% to 26.7% among high school seniors. That’s a 45% increase in just two years. Among eighth-grade students, IDPH reports a 15% increase, and a 65% increase among 10th-grade students during the same time frame.

This training is presented in partnership with Southern Illinois Tobacco Prevention Partnership, CATCH Global Foundation, Catch Onto Health, Southern Illinois Healthcare, Jackson County Health Department, Egyptian Health Department and Southern Seven Health Department.

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