UK Faculty, Students Contribute to National Cancer Prevention Workshop

Posted: February 8, 2021

Faculty and students from the University of Kentucky Colleges of Nursing and Education were featured panelists during Less Cancer's National Cancer Prevention Workshop, to discuss the increased use of e-cigarettes among young people, the short and long-term effects of vaping and efforts to curb its popularity.  

The 'Vaping E Cigarettes and Smoking' panel session was part of the all-day virtual workshop held Feb. 4 and is available to view along with other workshop sessions on Less Cancer's YouTube Channel

The annual workshop is typically held in-person on Capitol Hill to educate students and legislators, and provide continuing education credits for physicians, nurses, and public health professionals.

Faculty and students from the UK College of Nursing and UK College of Education Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion were among the key leaders in cancer prevention, journalism, education, and government who contributed to the virtual event. UK College of Nursing Dean Janie Heath and Melinda Ickes, an associate professor of health promotion in the UK College of Education, moderated the discussion. 

“With more than 15,000 flavors with names such as gummy bears, cotton candy, and zombie dust, vaping e-cigarettes quickly became a growing trend among youth over the past decade. Given the short- and long-term consequences, we know an innovative and collaborative effort is needed,” Ickes said.

UK researchers and student ambassadors have taken action to help curb the use of e-cigarettes among youth. They formed a program called #iCANendthetrend. This “peer-to-peer” model connects middle and high school students with college-age facilitators. The college students help build awareness of the dangers of e-cigarette use and the cost associated with nicotine dependence, as well as help the students gain skills related to refusal techniques and identifying ways they are targeted by the tobacco industry.

“I’ve been passionate about tobacco control all of my nursing career,” Heath said. “As dean of the College of Nursing, I am fortunate to work with experts in the field of tobacco control at the University of Kentucky.”

Dillon Lay, a first-year health promotion graduate student in the UK College of Education Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, took part in the Cancer Prevention Workshop recorded session. He is a research assistant for #iCANendthetrend and has worked on the team of college facilitators traveling across Kentucky to provide tobacco use prevention services to youth, family, and community members. During his time as an undergraduate, he served a Tobacco-free Take Action! Student Volunteer and as an intern at the Kentucky Health Collaborative where he assisted with a state-wide lung cancer screening program.

“Speaking with other UK students and staff about their experiences and passions for tobacco control proved that we are moving in the right direction in improving the health of all Kentuckians. I am grateful for all of the hard work and research done at the University of Kentucky that will allow us to reach this goal,” Lay said.