New online game teaches teens about vaping…


With assist from a Stanford scientist, a faculty district in Southern California has launched a free sport app known as BeatNic Boulevard to show youngsters and teenagers concerning the hazards of vaping.

“Vaping units are marketed in ways in which attraction to youngsters,” mentioned Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD, a professor of pediatrics at Stanford Medication who research teenagers’ tobacco and marijuana use and helped develop the sport. “It is smart to counteract this with artistic, teen-friendly ways in anti-tobacco schooling.”

In BeatNic Boulevard, gamers see how altering characters’ tobacco use impacts a digital metropolis.

Over the previous few years, Halpern-Felsher has developed the Stanford Tobacco Prevention Toolkit — which offers a set of classroom curricula, reality sheets, video games and quizzes — to teach college students in center faculty and highschool concerning the hazards of all types of nicotine use, together with vaping. The free lesson plans have been utilized in faculties throughout the nation, reaching nearly 2 million college students. Serving to to show a few of these supplies into an academic sport was a pure subsequent step for the researchers.

“We would been speaking on the Toolkit staff about gamifying our supplies, after which the staff from San Bernardino faculties got here to us with their concept of making a sport displaying the results of tobacco use, particularly vaping, on people inside a metropolis,” Halpern-Felsher mentioned.

BeatNic Boulevard is designed to be performed on a cellphone or different cell gadget. Gamers navigate a digital metropolis whereas modifying its inhabitants’ stage of tobacco use, then watch how town’s panorama modifications in consequence. (Normally, extra tobacco use makes the streets extra run-down.) Gamers can take a look at totally different prevention ways to cease characters from vaping, then observe the downstream results. The sport additionally options built-in quizzes to bolster its academic content material.

A lot of the data within the sport — about dependancy, the contents of vaping units and the way vaping trade advertising largely targets youth — got here from the Tobacco Prevention Toolkit. The brand new sport will develop into an exercise embedded within the toolkit’s classes, however it will also be used exterior the classroom.

“My hope is that college students will wish to play it on their very own and, as a result of it is a sport, it will not really feel like homework,” Halpern-Felsher mentioned.

Photograph by 1STunningART; display screen picture from BeatNic Boulevard courtesy of San Bernardino County Superintendent of Faculties.

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