Local public education projects will aim to help Canadians better understand the health effects associated with the use of cannabis or vaping products
Health Canada has launched a new three-year, $600,000 micro-grant fund, under its Substance Use and Addictions Program, to support community-led education efforts to inform the public about the health facts of cannabis use and vaping.
“Ensuring that Canadians are aware of the health effects of cannabis use and vaping is key to helping to reduce the harms associated with these activities. I am pleased that our Government is offering these micro-grants to help Canadians take action within their communities. Armed with factual information from a source they trust, Canadians can make informed decisions and lead healthier lives,” said Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor in a press release.
Canadians often go to people they know and trust in their communities for health-related information. Health Canada recognizes the importance of these community-level conversations and wants to support community leaders across the country in providing Canadians with information to make informed choices about their health.
“Many, but not all, vaping products in Canada contain nicotine. It is known that nicotine and cannabis pose a number of health risks. They are addictive substances, and youth are at higher risk of developing dependence on these substances. Research also indicates that the brain is not fully developed until around age 25, and youth are especially vulnerable to the effects of cannabis and nicotine on brain development and function. For young Canadians, the best way to protect their health is to not use nicotine or cannabis,” Health Canada told The GrowthOp in a written statement.
Canadians over the age of 16, Canadian not-for-profit organizations and community-based organizations can now apply at Health Canada’s website for a micro-grant of up to $1,000 to support public education projects in their communities.
To be eligible, projects must disseminate factual information to increase awareness about the health risks of cannabis use or vaping and must foster action at the community level to reduce harms associated with cannabis use or vaping. Examples of activities that could be funded include hosting a community event or developing tailored education materials. “Applicants can choose to apply for funding for activities that focus on only cannabis or only vaping, or for activities that address both vaping and cannabis activities,” Health Canada wrote.
Micro-grant recipients must also post a photo of their public education event, initiative or product on social media using either the hashtag #CannabisAware or #VapingInfo as a funding requirement.
The Government of Canada already has an education campaign aimed at preventing youth vaping including $6.1 million over three years, beginning in 2017, to increase awareness.
Health Canada also has a program aimed at educating youth about the health effects of using cannabis. Pursue your Passion events held in 2018 and 2019, and its free-to-download public educational materials, were designed to “show how regular cannabis use, especially among youth, can affect brain function and possibly make it harder for them to achieve their goals,” according to the program’s website.
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