SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Students in Greene County are saying they are vaping less than before.

According to a survey, 6th through 12th grade Missouri students are asked anonymously about their drug and alcohol use, and the results show improvements for Greene County between 2018 and 2020.

“It was really encouraging to us because it actually showed that vape use among middle and high school students dropped by 20%,” said Cara Erwin, the SGCH Community Wellness coordinator. “I think what’s really happening is youth are starting to realize how dangerous it is and so they’re not using it anymore.”

Erwin says this realization is not the only thing contributing to the decline. The Greene County Tobacco and Vape Prevention Coalition helps out a lot with prevention education.

“So, now all middle school and high school studnets, 6th to 9th grade, are receiving vape prevention and education in Springfield Public Schools,” said Erwin. “The second major contributor would be the passage of Tobacco 21 in the city of Springfield. I think it’s really exciting to share some encouraging news. I think we all need that right now. And to show that our efforts to educate the community about the dangers of vaping, clearly, is paying off. Vapor use in Greene County is lower than the state average, which is good news as well so we’re doing even better here than we are across the state.”

Because the use has gone down, Erwin says this doesn’t mean prevention should stop, especially with COVID-19 in the area.

“We need to keep the concerns of vaping at the forefront because the two go hand in hand,” said Erwin.

Erwin also says 30% more students say vaping is extremely harmful and that they don’t want to do something that’s harmful to their health.