TUPE (Tobacco-Use Prevention Education)

Maxwell Gatson

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What is TUPE? TUPE stands for Tobacco-Use Prevention Education. The purpose of the TUPE program is to minimize youth tobacco use by helping young people make healthful decisions about tobacco, e-cigarettes, and pod based systems through validated educational use instruction and activities, as well as empower the next generation of tobacco-free advocates. TUPE programs include classroom-based substance abuse prevention programs, prevention and cessation services, and youth development activities, including engaging students as peer educators. This is my second consecutive year as a TUPE peer educator and I’m ecstatic to be back.

     On Tuesday, October 16, 2018 there was a peer educator training held at the Fremont Unified School District. I attended this training as well as a couple of my peers and students from Washington High School in Fremont. During the training  we were able to get to know the other students through fun activities made for breaking the ice. We learned a lot about the dangers of smoking, vaping, tobacco, etc. Also, we learned new information through enjoyable and interactive activities.

     The most real and disheartening activity we did was the BB activity. This really put things in perspective for me. As you read imagine metal BB’s and a tin can, the presenter has over 1,550 BB’s each representing a death everyday from substance abuse. The presenter pours 22 BB’s into the tin can which represents 22 people dying from heroin drug abuse everyday, this sounds like the light patter of rain on a window. Then he pours 241 BB’s into the tin can to represent how many people die from alcohol abuse everyday, this sounds like heavy rain crashing down onto the roof of a car. Now tobacco, he pours 1,315 BB’s into to the tin can, 1,315 people die from tobacco use everyday in America, this sound like a steady heavy stream of water coming down a waterfall crashing into the water below. This activity really opened my eyes to the dangers of tobacco, but I got the most information out of just sitting and listening while the instructor taught us about the dangers of smoking. I was able to take notes and get a refresher on what I learned last year.

     Overall the peer educator training was once again very enjoyable. However, I’d say more than last years training because it was a much smaller group of people so that made it more interactive and engaging. If you’re interested in learning about the dangers of tobacco and teaching others as well, I would highly recommend looking into the TUPE program!