Our nation’s classrooms have long provided what we know is the best antidote for risky health behaviors. When it was determined years ago, for example, that smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco can indeed cause cancer, legislators across the country required schools to provide classroom instruction on the significant dangers behind combustibles and chewing tobacco.
The overall result: Tobacco use by teens has been reduced significantly!
Decades later and in the midst of today’s global pandemic, younger students are breaking the stress via vaping and other risky behaviors. Concurrently, researchers continue to investigate the short and long term effects of nicotine on the health of children and adults alike. The advent of vaping and the use of e-cigarettes — both endorsed by big tobacco companies as safe alternatives to combustibles and chewing — has world scientists scrambling to answer questions that now seem more urgent than ever.
In a July 27, 2021 release by the World Health Organization (WHO), global progress is acknowledged in the fight against tobacco use. But the report also states that any progress that has been made in efforts to reduce tobacco use are ALSO at risk with the proliferation of other forms of nicotine delivery, including e-cigarettes and vaping.
“Nicotine is highly addictive. Electronic nicotine delivery systems are harmful, and must be better regulated,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, “Where they are not banned, governments should adopt appropriate policies to protect their populations from the harms of electronic nicotine delivery systems, and to prevent their uptake by children, adolescents and other vulnerable groups.”.
At the heart of the concern is not just the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes among youth, but the aggressive tactics being used by big tobacco companies to entice young people to partake of these new methods of nicotine delivery. Michael R. Bloomberg, the WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries, states “….tobacco companies have been aggressively marketing new products – like e-cigarettes and heated-tobacco products – and lobbied governments to limit their regulation. Their goal is simple: to hook another generation on nicotine. We can’t let that happen.”
At RE@L, we agree with their findings and call to action! Educators at all levels have made positive changes in the past. Those of us in K12 education must ‘step to the plate’ to do the right thing again. Our curriculum planning and instructional activities must include the hazards of K12 vaping and e-cigarettes.This must be taught at early ages, long before middle school and high school. It’s those formative years that are make-or-break windows of influence that start them down the path to nicotine addiction.
Enter RE@L’s game-changer, 1Up On Vaping™, our classroom tested learning product. Aligned with national and state standards, RE@L is a viable option for classroom instruction, one which can be a difference-maker for teachers and students alike. RE@L’s 1 Up On Vaping™ engages students by making them the lead character in a web-based, graphics arts story! No longer is the fight against nicotine addiction relegated to only adults lecturing students about risky behaviors. RE@L’s 1Up On Vaping™ provides projects, video games, and other activities which reinforce the student’s decision to avoid vaping and nicotine use. Our classroom results show that it works for students!
All of RE@L’s 1 Up On Vaping™ activities reinforce student learning from the graphic arts story. For instance, students using 1Up On Vaping™ can engage in an activity called ‘The Agency’. In this game-like activity, the student plays the role of an advertising agency employee who must develop an ad for new vaping products. During the process, the boss provides feedback about the positive sales of the new products while the computer commentary reminds the student how the marketing draws students to harmful nicotine products and how such ads should be ignored in the cause of maintaining good health. What better way for students to understand how ads are targeting them than to actually create one themselves? Plus they receive immediate feedback that sheds light on the deceptive big tobacco practices to entice them to become a new, young user!
As always, educators will step-up to address this epidemic of nicotine use via e-cigarettes and vaping. As we have done so many times in the past, we will intervene! RE@L’s 1 Up On Vaping™ provides a student and teacher tested chance to save a generation of youth from health hazards associated with nicotine addiction via e-cigarettes and vaping. K12 schools need these alternative delivery systems now. Failure to do so leaves far too many of our students at risk.
Together, caring educators and RE@L will not allow that to happen to another generation of students.