Vaping: Know The Truth: Kaiser Permanente, Truth Initiative, Everfi & American Heart Association.
In December 2018, youth e-cigarette use in the U.S. was declared an epidemic by the U.S. Surgeon General. According to JAMA Pediatrics, nicotine vaping among youth remained high in 2020 with 22 percent of 10th and 12th graders using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days. In the COVID-19 pandemic, medical experts became more worried about this problem as a Stanford University School of Medicine study found young people who reported using e-cigarettes were up to five times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than their non-vaping peers.
The Truth initiative, America’s largest nonprofit public health organization dedicated to a future free from tobacco and nicotine addiction, saw this epidemic as a chance to expand its campaign into middle and high schools to reach more teenagers with its vaping prevention health messaging. The group envisioned an innovative, cutting edge, 30-45 minute self-led, free, digital vaping prevention course that would help change students’ knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors related to vaping and introduce resources to help them quit.
The Truth Initiative knew it would need partners and engaged Everfi to develop and promote the curriculum on its digital educational platform to teachers and school administrators. It engaged Kaiser Permanent, the nation’s largest HMO, as a strategic partner to fund the development distribution of the curriculum. Kaiser’s $5.75 million investment made it widely available to school as part of its Thriving Schools initiative. The American Heart Association—a longtime partner of Kaiser, became a partner and promoted the availability of the course as part of its Tobacco-Free Toolkit. The Truth Initiative lent its powerful, evidence-based, youth brand voice and tone, content, subject matter expertise, research, quit resource and promotional channels.
Though COVID-19 threatened to throw this program off course, it managed launch in November 2020. Vaping: Know the Truth has offered a creative solution to the difficult community health problem of teen vaping. It has helped to improve the total health of Kaiser Permanente’s members and the communities it serves. It is providing quality, effective content at no cost to all youth virtually, which educators and schools are in particular need of in this moment.
The program generated more than 1,143 news stories and more than 324 media impressions. Webinars were attended by over 670 teachers and school administrators while more than 56,000 students have started or completed the course. More than 912 schools across the country are actively using the course and surveys indicate an increase of 6-18 percentage points of knowledge across the course’s four parts.
“I thought I already knew a lot about vaping due to already having done a couple other online vaping courses, but I learned SO MUCH new information in this course. Also, the graphic design was very aesthetically pleasing. The commentary felt like it was written by a comedic millennial, which I love,” said a student in West Virginia.
“We have not had any students this year bring a vape to the school, and I have not heard that many of my students even use vapes anymore. (I) realized that (this) was having an impact when a student who normally vapes…has not been seen vaping,” reported a Missouri high school teacher.