TUPE Podcast Episode 1

January 11, 2018

What is TUPE and Vaping 101

three girls at school

What is TUPE?

Marlene Mahurin is The TUPE Project Coordinator for the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools. TUPE brings tobacco education into our schools. Each of our middle and high schools has a TUPE Site Coordinator who brings curriculum into the classroom to teach students about the health risks of smoking, vaping and marijuana use. They also create peer educator groups who teach their peers as well as participate in youth advocacy. TUPE also provides parent education and education to the community.

Health risks of vaping:

Most students understand the health risks of smoking cigarettes and are open to the messages of the risks. However, when talking to youth about vaping, e-cigarettes and marijuana students are often not as open to the messages around the health risks. It’s important that they know the risks.

What is vaping? 

E-cigarettes and vape pens were developed in the early 2000’s in Asia. They were introduced as a quit tool for long time smokers. However, very quickly the big tobacco companies realized they were missing a big opportunity and shifted their focus to targeting young people. They introduced thousands of flavors that appeal to youth.

What is an e-cigarette or vape pen?

It is an electronic device with a battery inside and is filled with e-juice that is made up of a variety of chemicals. When the user inhales on the vape pen, the liquid heats up and converts into an aerosol. It has a strong appeal to young people as they smell really good and think they look “cool” with the large “cloud” they produce.

There are a lot of misconceptions about the health risks of vaping. They are often seen as a healthy alternative to smoking cigarettes. In reality they are quite unhealthy for young people and we don’t really know the full extent of long term use, as they haven’t been around long enough.  The FDA does not yet regulate what goes into the e-juice so users really don’t know what the chemicals are they are smoking. The vast majority of e-juice does contain nicotine but there are still a whole host of other ingredients that are harmful, such as acetone, formaldehyde and diacetyl. E-cigs and vape pens can cause many health problems, such as cancer, lung disease, etc.

How are they targeting youth?

Companies target youth through flavors and advertising. Flavors such as tutti frutti, berry, cherry and cotton candy are appealing to youth. We’ve seen ads with Santa, gummy bears, etc. Tobacco companies are good at what they do. The increase in users under the age of 18 has skyrocketed.

Are e-cigs addictive?

Yes! The majority contain nicotine which is extremely addictive. It can also be a gateway to other drugs such as smoking cigarettes, marijuana and stronger drugs. People also vape concentrated forms of marijuana and alcohol which can lead to extreme intoxication.

We want to educate our youth so that they can make informed choices when it comes to vaping.