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The Big Tobacco Accountability Mirage: Don’t Fall For It

by | Oct 2, 2022 | RE@L StudentCorner | 0 comments

Are you a ‘check-lister?’ Here’s a little known secret: your Blogmeister is a prolific ‘check-lister’. I have checklists of to-do’s piled on top of other checklists. Seems like every week I’m looking for some new app that can make my checklists even easier to produce and organize. I just have yet to find the checklist that actually does the work FOR me.

Nonetheless, checklists keep me moving. They give me a sense of organization. They give me a sense of fulfillment when I can mark a task as ‘completed’. Can you relate? Have you ever written a checklist item that you’ve already completed just so you can feel good about immediately crossing it off? Count your Blogmeister as one of those persons!

Here’s the checklist rub. Not all checklist items are created equal. Sometimes when I cross off an item on the checklist, the ensuing actions create more checklist items. It’s one thing, for instance, to grocery shop and mark things you’ve collected in the cart from your checklist. It is still another thing to mark something as completed knowing full well that it will create an avalanche of related checklist items.

Let’s take the recent $440 million dollar settlement to 33 states which sued big tobacco company, Juul, for directly marketing their vaping products to kids. If you are a Juul executive, it’s something you might just cross off on the notepad as completed: We settled the marketing lawsuit. Whew! That’s done!

But we — all of us — need to make sure it is NOT done. A settlement as large as it is could lull one in to thinking, ‘Marketing to kids is done.’ ‘Teen vaping is done.’ We need to make sure in this quest for accountability that big tobacco companies are not allowed to own that narrative.

It would be wrong to check this off the the list and declare, ‘We no longer have to worry about teen vaping!’ Far from it. In many ways, it has only just begun.

The new vaping craze emerging today is wellness vaping, the idea that one can effectively take vitamins and supplements through vaping. Read more about it here: ‘Wellness vapes are all the rage. But are they healthy or just hype?’ It’s another attempt to make vaping look like a healthy delivery system when scientists have barely begun to scratch the surface on the effects of vaping vitamins and supplements.

Even worse, young people are now vaping marijuana, which begs the obvious question: Is vaping marijuana safe? Read more about it here at

And to compound the obvious, we know that the delivery of fentanyl in ANY form can be lethal, and — alarmingly — it’s a vaping practice that is on the rise. Read more about fentanyl-laced vapes here, at

It will be easy for some — in the name of accountability — to use the recent $440 million dollar settlement as something to check off the list. It’s done. It’s over.

But at RE@L, we believe we cannot allow ourselves to get lured in to this mirage of accountability. It’s one of those complex check marks, isn’t it? The damage has not only been done, but it continues in ways that are impossible to both calculate and anticipate.

It’s why at RE@L, we stand behind our anti-vaping, anti-smoking, anti-nicotine product, 1Up On Vaping™ as an important tool for educators to leverage in classroom instruction. Designed for middle school students, its a multi-chapter graphic arts story which places the student as the main character in the plot.

And 1Up On Vaping™ is available to schools now simply by signing up via our web portal.

You see, one can feel that sense of accomplishment by checking things off the list. After all, some of us find it extremely satisfying to mark a task as ‘done’. But when it comes to the recent settlement, it is NOT done and we can never allow ourselves to become complacent because some company doled out millions to lull us into checking it off our lists of important things to do for kids.

The quest to eliminate teen vaping has only just begun, and RE@L’s 1Up On Vaping™ can be a school’s comprehensive tool to reduce or even eliminate it.

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.