Last summer, at EDCON, MASSP introduced the Anti-Vaping Toolkit. A member-driven curation of resources to help principals combat the vaping epidemic in their schools. This fall, MASSP, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced the winners of a statewide contest encouraging high school students to create public service announcements that discourage tobacco use through vaping. The effort was a collaboration with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and the top three were awarded recognition at the Michigan Student Broadcast Awards Luncheon & Career Fair.

“As an Association that supports the work of Secondary School Principals we hear continuously from our members that vaping is a huge problem,” said Wendy Zdeb, MASSP Executive Director. “Many schools have consequences for students who are found to be vaping at school but we realize prevention is the best answer.” 

The contest allowed us to both provide resources for principals while supporting and celebrating student-voice in schools! We all know that students may consider what we say as adults but listen to one another. We are thrilled to be able to tap into the power of peer suggestion and provide it as a resource to our members. 

Vaping is a crisis in our schools. The National Youth Tobacco Survey indicates that while vaping has decreased over the last couple of years, 1 in 4 students still use e-cigarettes daily. Data from Truth Initiative suggests that 82.9% of teens use e-cigarettes over other forms of tobacco and that those “vapes” have at least 2x the nicotine as similar devices sold outside the United States. The vaping epidemic and the tobacco industry’s predatory marketing aimed at youth and young adults is a threat to the health of young people everywhere. Vape products contain harmful and addictive levels of nicotine. The use of which can lead to increased levels of depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health disorders. Vaping can also lead to physical health problems, including cancer, heart disease, and COPD. This is why messages like the ones created in this contest are so important!

The contest challenged students across the state to develop engaging audio or video PSAs, no longer than 60 seconds, that raise awareness about the dangers of vaping among their peers. Entries were judged on creativity, effectiveness, and production value. Winners and runners-up will have their work shared statewide by MDHHS and MASSP. The creativity and dedication displayed in the student-created PSAs were inspiring. Their powerful messages demonstrate that when provided the opportunity, student broadcasters can create impactful productions that can make a difference.

The Student Broadcast Awards Luncheon & Career Fair, held at the Crowne Plaza in Lansing, on March 18, 2024, featured high school and college broadcasting students as well as professionals from the field. 

“Preventing tobacco usage takes a comprehensive approach, and we congratulate these students for their participation and engagement in tobacco prevention messaging,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive for MDHHS. “Hearing about the dangers of vaping and tobacco use from peers is an important tactic in both engaging youth and sharing trusted information.”

Top Three Winners in Video Category 

  1. Victor the Vape, Rockford High School, Beyond the Rock, Emma Lombard, Hudson Timmer, Sam VerMerris

  2. Not too Late to Quit, Rockford High School, Beyond the Rock, Gretchen McCay, Cristal Nink, Madden Warner, Danielle Wheeler

  3. Drop the Vape, Rockford High School, Beyond the Rock, Credit(s): Anna Austin, Ellie Pursiful, Sam VerMerris

MSBA video PSA 1st Place MSBA Video PSA 2nd Place MSBA Video PSA HM

Top Three Winners in Audio Category 

  1. 2023 Vape, Plymouth-Canton Community Schools 88.1 The Park, Akshayapriya Saravanan, Lucas Gentilia, Jaya Choudhary, Jonah Kibin 

  2. Vaping, Plymouth-Canton Community Schools 88.1 The Park, Nadia Halim, Chae Eun Park, Sydney Viloria 

  3. Vape, Plymouth-Canton Community Schools 88.1 The Park, Colin Bradlee, Carter Johnson, Lola Makanjuola, Elise Taylor

    MSBA Audio PSA 1st Place MSBA Audio PSA 2nd Place MSBA Audio PSA HM

If you have any questions about the Anti-Vaping Toolkit or how to get your students involved in this process next year, please reach out to Tom Lietz

by Tom Lietz, Associate Dir. for Training and Development