The dangers of vaping are something that Minnesota health officials and educators have been trying to share with students for years as vaping has become far too prevalent in Minnesota schools with students.

The Minnesota Department of Health says a 2022 Minnesota Student Survey showed that though illegal, underage youth vaping continues to be a problem in Minnesota with 14% of 11th graders and 6% of eighth graders reporting e-cigarette use during the last 30 days.

That's alarming since no amount of nicotine is safe for youth as it is highly addictive and can be toxic. Health officials note that because the adolescent brain is still developing until about age 25, youth nicotine exposure can increase the risk of addiction to commercial tobacco products and other substances in the future. Nicotine use can also lead to poor mental health by worsening symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.

The Escape The Vape Video Challenge

Four years ago, the Escape The Vape Vido Challenge began to spread the word about vaping dangers to students while also letting them creatively be a part of the process.

The 4th Escape the Vape Video Challenge had over 500 students from 38 Minnesota schools creating 30-second videos to educate their fellow students on the dangers of vaping.

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Minnesota students acted through the contest, submitting 232 entries. Middle and high school students served as judges and helped select the 14 finalists. Public voting opened on April 30 and closed on May 6.

Nearly 1,400 votes were cast to choose the winners for each division. Each first-place winning video will be awarded a $500 cash prize. Their schools will also each receive $500.

Top Videos Of The 2024 Escape The Vape Video Challenge

Middle School Divison

The third-place finisher was“The Possessing Truths about Vaping” by James Jenson at Hastings Middle School.

The second-place finisher was “Escape the Vape” by Savannah Venner, Kaylee Stokman, Emily Fitzpatrick, and Leah Privet at Caledonia Middle and High School.

The first-place finisher in the Middle School Division was “Be Smart, Don’t Start” by Samantha Lanners and Katrina Lindstrom at Underwood Public School.

High School Division

The third-place finisher was “Life without Fog” by Natalie Manley, Lydia Frome, and Jayla Daniels at Eagan High School.

The second-place finisher was “Sports Won’t Wait” by Haley Zeledon, Cedric Cusack, and Rae Musicant at Northfield Senior High School.

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The first-place finisher in the high school division was “Cloudy Friendship” by Michael Perkins, Xavia Stacy, and Isabella Lynn at Redwood Valley High School.

The Minnesota Department of Health also awarded $1,000 to the school that had the highest percentage of participating students. For the second year in a row, that price went to White Bear Lake Central Middle School, which had 101 students enter the contest.

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