TUPE combats vaping and tobacco use


Nick Strain, Segments Editor

The Center for Disease Control recently reported 1,299 lung injuries and 26 deaths as a direct cause of vaping and E-cigarettes.

This is all coming at a time when nicotine has surged in popularity among teenagers.

Amador Valley and PUSD are aiming to educate their students on the dangers of tobacco, drugs, and alcohol through an initiative called Tobacco Use Prevention Education, also known as TUPE.  TUPE is a program of the California Department of Education that provides funding for programs in grades six through twelve through a competitive application process for tobacco-specific student instruction, reinforcement activities, special events, and intervention and anti-use programs for students.

The group is comprised of fellow Amador students hand picked by the school.  Statements from Vaping or E-cigarette companies have not been scientifically proven so in order to understand the information, we must take a more objective approach to educating.

“As opposed to just listing the facts we want students to come to their own conclusions,” said Peer Health Educator, Krishna Prakash (‘20). 

According to E-Cigarette companies, the intended purpose of E-cigarettes was to help ease heavy smokers off of smoking by providing an alternative and seemingly healthier option to traditional tobacco products. 

However, since their inception, companies like JUUL Labs, NJOY, and Blu began marketing campaigns that appear to be aimed at teenagers primarily through the use of flavored nicotine pods which are attractive to teens and even preteens. Critics point to flavors such as cotton candy as proof of direct marketing to young people. In addition, the US Food and Drug Administration stated that JUUL “ignored the law” with misleading health claims. 

Programs such as TUPE have begun to combat the aggressive marketing campaigns of vaping related products that appear to be geared towards the teenage demographic, resulting in soaring use among this group.

“TUPE will be doing events through-out the school year to help inform students about the risks of tobacco, drugs, and drinking because we have seen the usage of these substances incline over the years among teenagers,” said the Head Health Educator, Mrs. Silva. 

The first TUPE event Amador Valley will be during the annual Red Ribbon Week, the traditional week where schools bring awareness about drug, alcohol and tobacco use to teens on a national basis. Originally run by student leadership, Red Ribbon Week will now by run by TUPE. Students will be able to interact in activities such as a pledge wall and decorating the school in red ribbons. 

“I hope that people learn the whole truth around tobacco and e-cigarettes and that they will be able to make healthy choices about using them,” said Peer Health Educator,  Aysha Cunninham (‘21).

TUPE’s Red Ribbon Week begins Monday, October 28 and continues throughout the entire week.