Educators share how a free vaping prevention curriculum has helped their students
As youth continue to use e-cigarettes at alarming rates, vaping has become a major distraction for many educators and students, disrupting daily life at middle and high schools. Over 2.5 million middle and high school students reported e-cigarette use with nearly half (46%) of high schoolers who vape doing so on a frequent basis, according to the most recent National Youth Tobacco Survey.
To help schools address this pressing issue, Truth Initiative and Kaiser Permanente collaborated with the American Heart Association to produce a national youth vaping prevention curriculum Vaping: Know the truth. The curriculum offers a modern approach to guide teachers and educate youth about the dangers associated with e-cigarette use, giving them the facts about e-cigarettes and resources to quit through This is Quitting, a first-of-its-kind text message program that is already helping more than 500,000 youth and young adults on their journeys to quit. The entire curriculum can be accessed online at no cost through the leading social impact education innovator, EVERFI.
Here is what some educators who have shared the self-led course with their students have to say about their experiences.
“It’s very interesting to see what they’re learning and how they’re taking that information and using it in the right direction, making better decisions surrounding vapes and the use of the vapes.” -Terri Smith, Coordinated School Health Facilitator at Lincoln County Schools, Tennessee
“One student, right after she finished [the modules], who told us, ‘I didn’t realize how dangerous and what chemicals were in there, I’m not gonna touch one of those again.’” – Scott Dowling, Dean at Kearney Middle School, Colorado
Experts and educators agree that students are not aware of the harmful consequences of using e-cigarettes, including its effects on developing brains. Younger users are more likely to become addicted to nicotine, have more difficulty quitting, and may be at higher risk for addiction to other substances in the future.
The 40-45 minute self-administered interactive course Vaping: Know the truth takes students through four self-paced lessons. Together, these lessons inform students about the harmful ingredients inside e-cigarettes, highlight how the tobacco industry has intentionally targeted young people through various marketing and advertising strategies, and discuss the addictiveness of nicotine and the health risks of using vapes.
“The knowledge that they’re lacking about what they’re doing when they’re vaping, it’s just astonishing what we’re seeing with our students.” – Terri Smith
Support for students to quit is also provided by connecting students to This is Quitting, a text message quit vaping program designed specifically for young people. The program is tailored based on age (within 13 to 24 years old), quit status, and e-cigarette product usage to give teens and young adults appropriate recommendations about quitting. The text messages show the real side of quitting, both the good and bad, with messages from other participants to help young people feel motivated, inspired, and supported throughout their quitting process.
“The curriculum has provided a positive impact on our students, it’s empowering them, it’s giving them the truth, it’s giving them the information.” – Sabrina Taylor, Career Technical Education Investigations Teacher at Arlington Independent School District, Texas
“It [the curriculum] is giving the students the empowerment to know what’s in the vapes and they’re not wanting to do it again.” – Scott Dowling
Amy Taylor, Chief of Community Engagement at Truth Initiative, shares educators’ excitement about the success of the curriculum.
“We know that when young people feel empowered, that they’re going to make informed decisions. When they have the facts, they’re going to avoid vaping.” – Amy Taylor
To learn more about Vaping: Know the truth and how you can use the curriculum at no cost in your school or community, visit truthinitiative.org/curriculum.