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Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction

VapeAware - Nicotine prevention at schools for home language and culture lessons

Summary Participatory development of interventions for teachers and parents of the migrant population to prevent the use of vape pens by children and adolescents.
Project lead Nikolai Kiselev, Corina Salis Gross
Duration 12.2023-08.2025
Funding Tabakpräventionsfonds (TPF)
Cooperation Various teachers and schools of local language and culture teaching (HSK)


Since the beginning of 2022, electronic nicotine products such as disposable vapes from the PuffBar and ElfBar brands have been spreading explosively in Switzerland. Studies also report a sharp increase in the use of these products among children and adolescents. The 30-day prevalence of e-cigarette use has risen sharply among 15-year-olds. There has been an almost doubling among girls in particular: While 12.9 % of 15-year-old girls used e-cigarettes at least once a month in 2018, this figure had already risen to 25 % by 2022. Among boys, the proportion increased from 20.6 % to 25.1 %. These trends can also be observed in 2023. At least 7% of boys and 8% of girls aged 15 used puff bars on at least 10 days in the last 30 days. The classic prevention measures against tobacco consumption, smoking or other nicotine consumption often include the regular school structures and, via this channel, the parents. It is striking that many parents in Switzerland are insufficiently informed about the dangers and risks of consuming vape pens containing nicotine. Teachers are also not yet fully up to date with the new products. This particularly affects those people who have limited linguistic, social and financial resources. As a result, they can hardly access the relevant information on vape pens and their risks and dangers (e.g. not in their language, too complex, too text-heavy, not via the typical "points of contact"). This includes the Swiss migrant population with low socio-economic status (MSES) and/or other disadvantageous factors.


The level of knowledge of teachers working in the setting of home language and culture lessons [HSK] (especially those who work with the socially disadvantaged population in Switzerland) about the dangers and risks of vape consumption and adequate strategies for action is increased. The teachers then pass on what they have learnt to the parents of the pupils at the HSK schools. This gives the teachers and parents of pupils at the HSK schools low-threshold access to tobacco and nicotine prevention in general, but also with a focus on children and adolescents. Furthermore, the project aims to achieve total abstinence from smoking in the respective HSK settings (especially in school and club rooms).


The participatory project has four phases: In the preparatory phase, any documents and documentation relevant to the intervention are adapted or compiled and translated into the target languages. This includes a participatory exchange and workshop(s) with selected teachers from HSK and representatives of the parents of the pupils from different language groups (10-20 pax). The interventions in the HSK schools are expected to start in late summer 2023. 15 (online) workshops of 2 hours each in 10 languages are planned, each consisting of 15-20 HSK teachers. Subsequently, in the third phase, the trained HSK teachers will carry out approx. 100 interventions with a total of approx. 2000 parents of HSK pupils. In the final phase, the participants are to be surveyed three months after the intervention using an online tool.


This project opens up the hitherto little-noticed setting of the HSK schools to the migrant population. Thanks to the project, HSK teachers, parents and other relevant carers are fully informed about the dangers and risks of vape pens. They are empowered to play an active role in tobacco and nicotine prevention by passing on knowledge, initiating discussions, intervening proactively in the event of a risk and creating a supportive (nicotine-free) environment. Through targeted outreach educational measures, HSK teachers, parents and carers become competent and conscious multipliers of prevention messages. The living environments of children and young people are actively shaped and an open discourse is created in the migration communities, which takes into account the needs and concerns of disadvantaged target groups in particular. The project also aims to have a protective effect so that the new vape pen products are not spread further in these communities, particularly via children and young people.


Weiterführende Informationen