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An E-Cigarette With Built-In Age Verification? Be Wary!

by | Aug 6, 2023 | RE@L StudentCorner | 0 comments

It’s easy to get lulled to sleep with the ongoing drama surrounding teen nicotine use, isn’t it? In June, our Progress. Advancement. Momentum. Headway. Gains.” blogpost outlined reasons (again) to be optimistic about efforts to curtail teen nicotine use. The most recent efforts by JUUL should remind us, though, that settlements are visible, headline-grabbing news bites that make it look like the fight against teenage nicotine addiction is over. Far from it!  Based on a recent post by Gizmodo, it appears that JUUL is working to obtain FDA approval for vape age verification.

‘A New Vape That Can Verify a User’s Age’? Hmmmmmmmm. Call me a pessimist, but it seems we’ve been here before. New rules. New technology. But not fail proof! While this may seem like a step in the right direction, we should approach this innovation with a critical eye. The vaping industry has a history of marketing its products in ways that appeal to young consumers, and age verification alone will not be sufficient to curb underage use.  In the meantime, the challenge of teen nicotine will continue to exist, and — based on last month’s RE@L blogpost — “Your Next MUST Read: The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” nicotine use through vapes or e-cigarettes may even intensify.

Let’s not allow these corporate antics to lull us into a pattern of complacency! After all, these after-the-fact attempts to assuage our concerns are merely bait-and-switch tactics employed to continuously change our focus to the next shiny thing like the purchase of vape detectors which we mentioned in our past RE@L blogpost: “Hey Minnesota! We See You! What’s Next?”

Moreover, the rise in popularity of vaping has led to the emergence of various vape-related illnesses, with reports of severe lung injuries and even deaths. While these incidents might be attributed to black-market products or improper usage, the lack of long-term studies on vaping means that the potential health risks are still not fully understood. One of the most interesting studies about the impacts of nicotine vaping was highlighted in RE@L’s Blogpost, “Chemicals! Chemicals! Chemicals!” which takes a look at a University of Pittsburgh study that uses robots to investigate the health impacts of vaping.  

We can wait and wait and wait while legislators develop restrictions and companies try to develop more responsible products, but that approach assumes that we will always be responding to vaping instead of stopping it. At RE@L, we believe that the best way to stop the nicotine via vaping and e-cigarette crisis is to EDUCATE our students BEFORE the opportunity to use arises. Young people need to understand not just the bodily harm associated with vaping and e-cigarettes, they need to learn the refusal skills necessary when they are confronted with opportunities to consume. Enter: RE@L’s curriculum 1Up On Vaping™.

At RE@L, we have designed a web-based program, 1Up On Vaping™, which is an instructional curriculum earmarked for early middle school students. It is a highly-engaging three chapter graphic arts story which places the student as a participating character. If you are familiar with the legacy education simulation, The Oregon Trail™, you already get the picture. And you should! 1Up On Vaping™ is the brain child of the original creator of The Oregon Trail™! So, you know it’s good! 

1Up On Vaping™ can be delivered as an out-of-class assignment or it can be used as a teacher-facilitated curriculum within the classroom. Either way, it can be a vital component to a school’s nicotine prevention toolbox!! 

Join us in our commitment to Take Down Teen Nicotine.

Request a demonstration of 1Up On Vaping™ now.

*Some of our graphics are provided courtesy of


Randy Nelson


Randy Nelson is a retired educator of 38 years. He served students as a high school speech, theater, and English teacher. He served colleagues as a director of curriculum and instruction; and, most recently he served the La Crosse, WI school district as its superintendent of schools. He has a strong leadership track record promoting choice and innovation via unique community partnerships. He currently serves RE@L, inc as its Director of Education.