About 70 students from Galileo Academy of Science and Technology in San Francisco participated in the American Heart Association’s first national #QuitLying Day, designated to support and empower students across the country as they demand accountability by the tobacco and vaping industry. #QuitLying is directed at the industry, calling it out for spending millions of dollars marketing products directly to teens.
Galileo’s Health Academy seniors, who have been studying the vaping epidemic as a public health issue, chose the topic as their capstone project and addressed the youth vaping crisis in a passionate and moving assembly that was attended by school officials, American Heart Association representatives, youth health advocate physician Dr. John Maa, and executives from Kaiser Permanente. The students were overseen by Galileo Health Academy teacher and United Educators of San Francisco member Richard McDowell.
The hour-long program began with an overview of the vaping crisis and the need for students to take health into their own hands. The finale was a dramatic call to action, designed by the students. Each student read part of a statement and pledged to continue the fight past graduation, saying that they hold the future to their own health.
“At the end of the day, it’s our future,” said one student.
California Governor Gavin Newsom sent a statement praising the Galileo students for their effort and pledged to support them and the anti-vaping movement. San Francisco Mayor London Breed also sent a representative to read a proclamation supporting the students.
In October, the Educator ran a story about teachers’ efforts to halt student vaping, which has been a persistent problem in many schools and communities as increasing numbers of teens and youth vape. In particular, educators are fighting back against misinformation – and lies – spread by manufacturers and stakeholders such as Juul Labs and Altria.
Juul and others have deliberately targeted young people in their marketing and advertisements, offering products that are “cool” and come in candy and fruit flavors. San Francisco Unified School District is among several Bay Area districts joining forces in suing Juul.
The facts: Vaping is harmful to health and extremely addictive. Studies show that high levels of nicotine, contained in many of the pods inserted into vaping devices, have a dramatic impact on developing brains.
#QuitLying is the American Heart Association’s campaign tackling the youth vaping crisis by:
- Devoting $20 million in funding to focus on understanding how nicotine impacts young people.
- Advocating for stronger policies to regulate the use of flavored tobacco products among youth.
- Calling out Big Tobacco’s dishonest tactics to hook a new generation
For more information about #QuitLying, go to the American Heart Association.