Tobacco Prevention Helping Youth Build Their Advocacy and Leadership Skills

Tobacco Prevention Helping Youth Build Their Advocacy and Leadership Skills

In partnership with Elk Grove Unified School District, PRO Youth and Families is helping youth advocate around tobacco use in their community.

The TUPE (Tobacco Use Prevention Education) initiative is done in three parts:

  • Youth Education (with middle school and high school students)
  • Youth Advocacy
  • Mentor/Mentee Education (at neighboring elementary schools)

During the first phase students spoke about the norms around tobacco.  This includes accessibility and social norms around vaping.  There were many misconceptions that vaping was safer and more attractive than vaping, some even saying, “It looks cool.”

Youth did activities where they had to decide whether something was a want, need or addiction.  Prompts varied from a food, water, a date to the dance, weekly tobacco use, daily tobacco use and social media.  Students had some great discussions around items that can turn from a want to an addiction, or even a need to an addiction.

Later students participated in an activity where they had to decide whether or not something was a food product or a tobacco flavor.  Students came to the conclusion that flavored tobacco products were purposely targeting youth- especially those under the age of 18.

Through this, students created 30 second PSAs that they presented to their peers.  They also shared their PSA with their mentees at a neighboring elementary school.

Middle school and high school mentors led educational activities and games around tobacco and vaping, as well as well as physical games where they had to breathe through a straw to simulate the effect tobacco had on their lungs.  Other activities included a Jeopardy trivia game and a myth busting activity.

Students involved in the TUPE project:

  • Valley High School and Leimbach Elementary
  • Florin High School and Kirchgater Elementary
  • Monterey Trail High School and West Elementary
  • Jackman Middle School and Mack Elementary
  • Rutter Middle School and Kennedy Elementary