Seniors Jennifer DeLange and Alex Rumann
Seniors Jennifer DeLange and Alex Rumann

E-cigarettes and vaping pens aren’t the same as using tobacco. At least that’s what some local high school students thought before two WSU nursing students spent time educating them about tobacco.

Seniors Jennifer DeLange and Alex Rumann completed the American Lung Association Training and became certified Not On Tobacco (N-O-T) facilitators in August.

Over the last 10 weeks DeLange and Rumann, under the guidance of health specialists from Spokane Regional Health District and their community health professor Dr. Kawkab Shishani, taught the N-O-T curriculum to students at Dishman Hills High School in Spokane Valley.

“Right now vaping is the latest trend I see among teens,” said Disman Hills counselor Pedro Diaz. “Most of the time these students are misinformed about how it impacts their health.”

Said DeLange, “I was surprised that most of the students only think of cigarettes and smoking when referring to tobacco. By the middle of the curriculum, students were starting to see it differently.”

The N-O-T curriculum, designed for teens ages 14-19, covers topics including stress management, motivation, effects of smoking, and healthy lifestyles. The curriculum was incorporated into the students’ health class and satisfied part of the health credit requirement some students need to graduate.

“I think we had great outcomes,” said Shishani. Students had a “change in attitude” about what tobacco use is.

Said Diaz, “Hopefully after receiving this education from health professionals a seed has been planted that will lead to healthier habits down the road.”

Both the health district and the WSU College of Nursing will continue partnering to offer health education to teens in the coming semesters.

“Our nursing students have the passion, motivation, and positive energy to do this,” said Dr. Shishani. “They do all the work. We just provide the first steps.”

  • Sarah Schaub, WSU College of Nursing