Introducing the Initiative Empowering Students to Be Vape Free

Feb 18, 2020 12:05 PM ET

As kids grow up, they’re faced with the increased responsibility on how to make healthy choices. It starts with little decisions, like picking out an after-school snack, or which sport they want to play, and eventually leads to bigger decisions like college or a career path. As adults, we try our best to arm them with the right information and skills so they can make informed choices. But right now, young people across the U.S. are facing an incredibly consequential life decision with little or no helpful information to guide them, and sometimes even with disinformation. That choice is whether or not they should try vaping.

E-cigarettes contain nicotine, the same highly addictive chemical found in tobacco, which is a reason the spike in youth usage is both concerning and persistent. The “choice” to try nicotine can quickly spiral into a serious lifetime addiction. Youth who vape are four times more likely to start smoking cigarettes, a fact that is not lost on the Big Tobacco companies who are investing billions in vaping products. With many adults themselves lacking the relevant information and life experiences with vaping – a true “game changer” – how can we ensure students understand the consequences of vaping and are empowered to resist the pressures and temptations to start?

The big question: How do we convince students not to vape?

You may be part of an administration that has had to develop new policies to address youth vaping or perhaps you’ve even heard the personal struggles of students attempting to quit. These experiences are heart-wrenching and students clearly need support in order to stand up to peer pressure and fully understand and appreciate the health risks and other consequences involved. Discovery Education has recently partnered with CATCH Global Foundation and the CVS Health Foundation to launch an initiative to help combat this crisis. The Be Vape Free initiative provides educators, parents, and communities nationwide with free vaping prevention resources that empower students to live vape-free.

Why Be Vape Free?

At the heart of Be Vape Free is the evidence-based CATCH My Breath program, developed by the The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health. The standards-aligned, no-cost resources make it easy and straightforward to teach prevention in the classroom with ready-to-use PowerPoints and Educator Guides. By presenting a united front to the vaping crisis, we can help students understand the health risks of e-cigarettes and foster an environment that encourages and supports a vape-free lifestyle.

CATCH My Breath includes the combination of education and skills development needed to combat the vaping crisis. Students learn about the toxic chemicals found in e-cigarettes, the deceptive tobacco marketing tactics, how legislation affects smoking rates, and they develop and practice refusal skills and exit strategies that apply to real-life social situations.  With your help, and by incorporating these resources into daily classroom curriculum, we can empower students to be the first vape-free generation.

How can I be part of the Be Vape Free mission?

Be Vape Free can be accessed by educators, administrations, and parents nationwide. The initiative currently features classroom resources for educators teaching fifth grade and includes a Parent and Community Toolkit with a PowerPoint presentation that can be used at a Parent Night, PTA Event, Back to School Night, or other community event. You can join the Be Vape Free mission by registering to access the Core Lesson Bundle, and using the two Supplementary Lesson Bundles in your classroom today. Additional resources for middle and high school, and parents will be launching this year, though CATCH My Breath for grades 6-12 can be accessed now, and at no cost, by going to

With your support, and the support of other educators, parents, students, and communities, this crisis can be stopped. Through everyday curriculum, teaching refusal skills and health risks, and providing the tools to quit, we believe the Be Vape Free initiative can improve the health and wellbeing of a generation of students. Join the Be Vape Free initiative and stay tuned for the launch of new resources over the coming year.