Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K – 12 classrooms nationwide, in partnership with CATCH Global Foundation, a public charity dedicated to the development and dissemination of evidence-based health programs, and the CVS Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CVS Health, launched Be Vape Free, a nationwide initiative to provide standards-aligned, no-cost, e-cigarette prevention resources for educators teaching grades 5 – 12. Be Vape Free will serve to expand the use of CATCH My Breath, a proven effective vaping prevention program, to combat the growing vaping epidemic by arming educators, parents, and communities with easy-to-use tools that will help students make smart, informed, and healthy choices for life. The CVS Health Foundation is providing a $3 million commitment to fund this multi-year collaboration.
According to newly released data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, vaping among youth continued its upward trend in 2019 with nearly one in four high school students reporting vaping in the past 30 days. “It’s more important than ever that students know the risks behind e-cigarettes and that educators and parents are provided with the tools to ensure that those who haven’t started never will,” said Duncan Van Dusen, Founder and CEO of CATCH Global Foundation.
CATCH My Breath, a program created by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health and disseminated by CATCH Global Foundation, is an evidence-based program for grades 5 – 12 that has been shown to nearly halve the number of kids who go on to try e-cigarettes within the next year. Educators are encouraged to download the new 5th grade CATCH My Breath Core Program Bundle developed as part of Be Vape Free, which features classroom lessons and activities that identify the health risks of e-cigarettes alongside the benefits of being tobacco-free, expose vaping and tobacco marketing tactics, and help students develop, practice and demonstrate refusal skills. With a classroom guide and ready-to-use PowerPoint presentation, educators have the tools at their fingertips to provide students with the knowledge and skills that will help them make informed decisions about their health and well-being. CVS Health has also provided a three-year grant to provide the CATCH My Breath program free of charge to schools across the country.
“It is clear that we all have an important role to play in providing young people with factual information related to their health and the potential risks associated with vaping,” said Judy Uhrig from Mount Tabor High School, Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools. “Resources like those found in the CATCH My Breath Core Program Bundle will be vital to helping educators start these conversations in the classroom, while aligning lessons to core curriculum.”
“We’ve all seen the news of vaping-related lung illnesses and other health risks,” said Lori McFarling, President of Corporate Partnerships, Discovery Education. “This partnership between Discovery Education, CATCH Global Foundation and the CVS Health Foundation will expand access to turnkey materials to aid educators in supporting the fight against this growing epidemic.”
Be Vape Free also features two Supplementary Lesson Bundles for CATCH My Breath, with resources that can be introduced into everyday 5th grade classroom curricula. These lessons offer an interdisciplinary approach, tying to social studies, math, language arts, and other subjects to teach students about state laws regarding cigarettes and e-cigarettes, and the toxic chemicals found in both.
“Since CVS Pharmacy pulled cigarettes from its shelves more than five years ago, the CVS Health Foundation has worked to help create the first tobacco free generation through our Be The First initiative,” said Eileen Howard Boone, President, CVS Health Foundation. “We know that young people who vape are at a higher risk of becoming cigarette smokers, which is why we are so proud to work with the CATCH Global Foundation and Discovery Education to bring these meaningful prevention resources to classrooms across the country.”
The Be Vape Free initiative will help ensure that everyone—students, parents, educators, and other community members—has access to no-cost, preventative resources to help educate and empower young people. Additional community resources are scheduled to be released in 2020, along with expanded resources for the existing versions of the CATCH My Breath middle and high school program.
With the support of educators and all community members, the Be Vape Free initiative is on a mission to foster the first vape-free generation. For more information visit BeVapeFree.com.