If you have followed us here at RE@L, you know that we are standing solid with our nation’s educators in an effort to help them put an end to teen nicotine addiction. For decades, most states have required some sort of instruction regarding drugs, alcohol, and tobacco; and, those efforts have proven to be successful, especially considering a decrease in the overall use of combustibles (cigarettes and cigars).
However, instead of abandoning their efforts to market to young people, big tobacco companies have developed newer and even more appealing methods of delivering nicotine. Take, for instance, our September 2023 blog post about vaping tools disguised as highlighters — just in time for school supply shopping! Introduced first as a tool for smoking cessation, e-cigarettes and vapes soon became an even better option for young people to consider. After all, the new method of delivery was much easier to hide — from everyone. Parents included! And, these new devices were marketed with kids in mind. Today hundreds of flavors are available in many different inconspicuous means of delivery.
It would be foolish to assume that the use of e-cigarettes and vaping is an issue isolated to the United States. It’s just not true. Other countries in the world are experiencing the same challenges with teen addiction to nicotine. Take, for instance, the 2019 case of Eddie Sullivan, an accomplished high school football player from Australia. Eddie nearly lost his life as a result of vaping. Rushed to the hospital with pneumonia-like symptoms, his blood oxygen level began to plummet, and it was only after he shared with his care team that he had a vaping habit that they were able to change their approach to his care and save his life.
Despite the life-threatening warning signs from across the globe, Big tobacco companies have not relented. Actually, they immediately ‘doubled down’ with even stronger messages aimed at young people. And then there’s the case of Simah Herman, who, in 2019 at the age of 18 entered a California hospital with — you guessed it — pneumonia-like conditions. Simah, who did not perceive herself as a smoker, was sickened with respiratory symptoms consistent with smoking.
Eddie and Simah, however, are among the lucky ones. Far too many young people have taken up the allure of e-cigarettes and vaping, and subsequently lost their battle, entering a medical facility far too late to rescue from the deadly grasps of nicotine addiction and overdose. Stealth is one of the most captivating elements of e-cigarettes and vaping for teenagers. The delivery system is easy to mask with few, if any, residuals. Therefore, it’s easy to hide the habit from loved ones. Solomon Wynn, for example, was a healthy teenager who loved football, until he died suddenly from complications due to vaping.
It’s A Parent’s Worst Nightmare……
Unfortunately, the vaping crisis continues. A recent (2020) report from the the National Institutes of Health provides a summary of contemporary Center For Disease Control (CDC) data regarding the impact of vaping on the adolescent population. What’s even more ominous — and often-times overlooked — is the use of vaping instruments to deliver THC and other potentially lethal chemicals. Our young people remain the targets of an unforgivable campaign by big tobacco to attract, hook, and sustain a future generation on a sexy, stealthy habit that can kill.
It’s why schools are considering for adoption RE@L’s anti-vaping, anti-tobacco, anti-addiction middle school curriculum, 1Up On Vaping™. Perhaps you’re interested to know more about it. Developed using national health standards as required by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 1Up On Vaping™ is an engaging online program which places the student as a character in a three chapter graphic arts story requiring interaction and decision-making with other characters in the story. You can read more about 1Up On Vaping™ by clicking the banner below.
By joining other schools, school districts, and state service agencies who are considering 1Up On Vaping™, you can help ensure with us here at RE@L that more young impressionable adolescents do not find themselves in the same situation as Dakota Stephenson, a Sydney, Australia teenager who found herself on the doorstep of death as a result of vaping. Check out her story here: –> Sydney teenager Dakota Stephenson treated in ICU for EVALI, a lung condition linked to vaping | Sunrise (7news.com.au)
Some of our graphics are provided courtesy of pixy.org