Teen vaping in San Leandro is declining thanks to local students taking a stand against vaping.
One San Leandro High School (SLHS) teacher’s efforts to help students take a stand against teen vaping was featured in a recent issue of California Educator magazine.
He is a social studies teacher at the local high school in San Leandro named Dave Mason. He has been running the Tobacco Use Prevention-Education (TUPE) program (funded by tobacco tax money) for the past three years.
He utilizes students, predominantly seniors, as peer advisers. They enter classrooms, usually freshman health classes, where they talk about their perspectives relating to tobacco products.
They have 14 “TUPE” peer advisors at the high school this year which has had a positive impact on younger students and their views about teen vaping.
The student advisors are trained by the county education office and are given T-shirts in order to identify their role.
They attend the Teens Talking Tobacco annual conference held at UC Berkeley where they learn about teen vaping, tobacco smoking and various health-related issues relevant to teens.
The social studies teacher said he grew up with a family of smokers which is what drives his passion for this program.
He initially thought we were making progress in the fight against nicotine addiction, particularly among teens.
“I thought this was going to be the generation that beat Big Tobacco. But the tobacco industry figured out how to bring it back”
He says even the term “vaping” is incorrect. Pointing out that a user isn’t actually breathing in water vapor, but an aerosol better compared to hairspray.
The lowest point for him as a teacher, who is passionately against big tobacco, happened when he discovered a thumb drive plugged into a USB port on a classroom Chromebook computer.
He realized it was a vaping device being recharged.