Students unite nationwide to tackle vaping

Students unite nationwide to tackle vaping

Young people from all corners of Australia have come together to create an educational module aimed at informing primary school students about the complexities of vaping. This groundbreaking student-led initiative, named "Take a Breath," is the brainchild of Life Ed. It encourages Year 5 and 6 students to pause, "Take a Breath," and explore vaping-related issues on their own.

Funded by Consumer Healthcare Products Australia (CHP Australia), this module features Year 5 and 6 students who have genuine questions about vaping and smoking. They are joined by high school students who provide insightful answers. These teenagers encourage their peers to employ critical thinking skills to dissect matters such as emerging health and environmental impacts, evolving laws, social influences, and responsible decision-making. All the content has been meticulously fact-checked by experts.

Russell D’Costa, CEO of Life Education Australia, expressed his admiration for the project, saying, "The result is truly remarkable. Witnessing real Australian teenagers take a stand against vaping and smoking, educating younger students, and showcasing their strengths is powerful. What sets this initiative apart is its authenticity, with the voices of young people at the center. Moreover, the teenagers played a vital role in the production process as they created and edited their own video responses. This peer-to-peer style of education is effective as it fosters critical thinking skills in all involved, from the young participants in the video to those learning from it."

While Australia boasts one of the lowest smoking rates globally, the prevalence of vaping has witnessed a significant rise over the years. Research conducted for the Australian Health Department by Cancer Victoria in May 2023 revealed that less than 1 percent of 14 to 17-year-olds vaped in 2018, but this figure soared to over 14 percent by March 2023.

Like all Life Ed programs, "Take a Breath" is anchored in strengths and supported by solid evidence. It eases the burden on busy teachers by providing them with a tailor-made, curriculum-aligned unit of work, which includes:

  • Pre-visit resources and information for teachers and parents.
  • A face-to-face visit for students led by a highly trained Educator.
  • Post-visit "plug and play" lessons that can be facilitated by teachers without requiring extra preparation time.
  • Booster lessons featuring a series of on-demand videos along with discussion guides, designed for effortless facilitation by teachers.

While various vaping education options are available, Life Ed stands out with its early intervention approach. Mr. D’Costa explained, "Research tells us that educating children before they encounter a specific issue equips them with the best tools to make informed decisions. That's why Life Ed delivers education in the primary school setting, while other vaping education programs primarily target high schools. This early intervention empowers young people to practice making safe life choices before they confront challenging situations, difficult decisions, and mounting peer pressure."

Life Ed's mission is to encourage and support students in developing critical thinking skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. The new "Take a Breath" module is set to be introduced to schools starting from Term 1 in 2024, and bookings are now open.

The above article was supplied to The Educator by Life Ed.