By Tara Fowler – Health Educator
It’s the end of “No Vape November” and I would like to reflect on teaching CATCH My Breath to the 7th and 8th grade students at Fayetteville PK8 and Valley PK8. CATCH is a vape prevention program specific to grades 5-12. This evidence-based program was written to educate students on the dangers of vaping and increase the positive perceptions of choosing a vape-free lifestyle.
CATCH consists of 4 lessons taught over a four week period. The first session focuses on helping students understand the choice. Students learned to distinguish facts about e-cigarettes and tobacco products from common myths. Session 2 focuses on encouraging students to make their own choices. Students learned the harmful consequences of e-cigarette use and talked in-depth about the high percentage of students who choose NOT to experiment with e-cigarette use. Session 3 encourages students to stand firm on their choice to NOT use. This session demonstrates three effective strategies to avoid e-cigarette use: 1) avoid, 2) refuse, and 3) exit. Session 4 focuses on students taking responsibility for their choices. Students design counter-advertising messages to promote the choice to be vape-free.
While teaching this 4 week program, students were very responsive to the curriculum. They were engaged during the lessons and asked a lot of questions. We dove deep into myth busting and examined the ingredients and toxic chemicals that are liquefied in small cartridges. We broke down advertising and pinpointed what social media influencers really do! This helped students get a closer look at who the tobacco industry is targeting and how to NOT be a victim.
In closing, students came up with their own social media campaign to showcase what they learned. The article photo is a poster created by a Valley PK-8 student in Mr. Smith’s Class. This program opened the minds of students to see through influencers and advertisements.
Two staff members at MTHS have been trained to teach the CATCH program this month. Kelly LaCava also taught CATCH at St. Peter & Paul. Learn more about CATCH here, or contact us for help to bring CATCH to your Fayette County group or school.