A new national youth anti-vaping curriculum gives young people the facts about e-cigarettes and equips them with resources to quit
Amid the nation’s ongoing youth vaping epidemic, Truth Initiative and Kaiser Permanente, in collaboration with the American Heart Association, have launched a national youth anti-vaping curriculum called Vaping: Know the truth to guide teachers and empower teens who vape to quit, or to never start in the first place.
The digital course, developed as part of Truth Initiative’s nationally recognized youth anti-vaping truth campaign, also incorporates resources for students who vape to quit through the first-of-its-kind text message program, This is Quitting, which now has over 220,000 enrollees, more than two-thirds of whom (67.9%) reported that they had reduced or stopped using e-cigarettes after just two weeks of using the program. By directly linking to the proven-effective quit vaping resource designed for young people, Vaping: Know the Truth is helping ensure that youth have access to consistent support in their quitting journey. The curriculum will be made available to schools by EVERFI, a leading social impact education innovator that reaches over 30,000 K-12 schools across the country.
Youth tobacco use is at its highest rate in nearly 20 years. Data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention show that nearly 20% of high school students and 4.7% of middle schoolers use e-cigarettes. Compounding the issue further, nearly 40% of high school students who vape do so regularly with 22.5% using e-cigarettes daily – an indicator of possible nicotine addiction, which is harmful to developing brains.
“Giving direct access to the facts about vaping and providing resources to quit designed specifically for young people empowers them to make informed, positive choices when it comes to vaping and their health,” said Robin Koval, CEO and President of the Truth Initiative. “This is especially urgent amidst new research that links youth vaping with an increased risk of testing positive for COVID-19.”
Growing evidence suggests that vaping harms lung health and new research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health shows that teens and young adults who have vaped are up to five times more likely to test positive for the COVID-19 than their non-vaping peers. Meanwhile, teens are becoming increasingly health conscious. According to a Truth Initiative survey, 62 percent of 15- to 24-year-olds reported that they are more interested in quitting vaping now compared to before the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly half responded that the pandemic has prompted them to look for information about quitting or talk to someone about quitting.
Vaping: Know the truth is a four-part course that offers a modern approach to educating America’s youth about the dangers associated with e-cigarette use. Students will learn about the risks of vaping nicotine, the marketing efforts of Big Tobacco that intentionally target young consumers, and the dangers of addiction to help empower them to make healthy choices.
"The great unknown of the world of vaping is one of the main reasons we need education on it,” said Mike Whalen, health teacher at Penn Hills High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “Along with the unknown health consequences, there are still many ways vaping is and can be abused. The more the students know, the better off they will be."
The program is a 40-45 minute self-guided digital, interactive course with peer-to-peer instruction designed for high school students and available to teachers across grade levels. Educators will be able to measure the program’s success and track learners through their experience by measuring their knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs through embedded assessments and surveys.