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Breathe Aloha

A New ‘Breathe Aloha’ Mural Comes to Campbell

As the youth vaping epidemic continues to rage across the State of Hawai‘i, the 808NOVAPE campaign continues to answer the calls from our local schools for help educating and encouraging our students against initiating tobacco product use through e-cigarettes. It continues to be a frustrating challenge due to a series of factors. One of those factors is e-cigarette companies continuing to push the boundaries on e-cigarette designs that target kids. A few recent examples of e-cigarettes in the shape of a slushie cup, Spongebob Squarepants, and a highlighter, have garnered the attention of the Food & Drug Administration and received warning letters in the last six months to cease sales of these particular models in the United States.

Another element in this regard is the seemingly ever-increasing puff counts on disposable devices. Once upon a time, way back in 2015, JUUL pioneered the development of salt-based nicotine raising the roof on the maximum strength of nicotine in e-cigarettes from 36 milligrams per milliliter, to the now standard 50 milligrams per milliliter, more commonly referred to as 5% strength. This innovation was mind-blowing at the time as we came to realize that a person who completed vaping an entire JUUL pod consumed the nicotine equivalent of forty cigarettes or two whole packs. We are well beyond that today with the emergence two years ago of e-cigarette devices touting 3,000 puffs, to last year’s 5,000 puffs; which is the equivalent in nicotine of 590 cigarettes, that’s almost thirty packs! These are among some of the more shocking details we include in our vaping prevention presentations to students.

For children and teens today, staying out of reach from the influence of using e-cigarettes can be quite challenging. For a majority of elementary school-aged students in our audiences, the most common place they see e-cigarettes and their use is either at home or at school. Students spend the majority of their weekdays at school, and this is typically the primary location where we are able to communicate with students, mostly through our in-person presentations. After every vaping prevention presentation, we provide resources for the school such as classroom posters, resource guides, and 808NOVAPE stickers for each of the students, which they love receiving. Any opportunity to leave a lasting image or impression at the school is a welcome one, as prevention messages can often be drowned out by e-cigarette advertising they see in their communities by the presence of vape shops and e-cigarette use they are exposed to at home, or even on social media. So when a school contacts us and requests a Breathe Aloha 808NOVAPE mural to be produced on campus as an ever-present message to make smart choices when it comes to your health, we do our best to make that happen.

A‘ole Vape
Puff Bar = Lung Scar
Health is wealth

The most recent addition to our Breathe Aloha 808NOVAPE murals, twelve of which have now been produced across the state, was unveiled at James Campbell High School in ‘Ewa Beach on January 9, 2024. Around fifty students, teachers, school officials, and community partners gathered to talk story, share cake and refreshments, and take photos to celebrate the unveiling of the sixth ‘Breathe Aloha’ 808NOVAPE mural on O‘ahu. The mural was designed and produced by our partner, Ken “East3” Nishimura from Keep It Flowing Media, along with several of his colleagues. The finishing touches, including personal affirmations, were added by several dozen students attending Campbell High School, which is the largest high school in the state. 

Located in ‘Ewa Beach, there is a cluster of schools next to Campbell – Pohakea and Ka‘imiloa Elementary School, and Ilima Intermediate School. Less than a block’s walk from ‘Ilima Intermediate School, there is a vape shop. In addition, there are numerous mini-marts, gas stations, and small convenience stores within a block from these schools that sell the full range of tobacco products, including disposable e-cigarettes. The students at these schools drive and walk past these businesses at least twice per day and likely have grown so accustomed to the presence of these stores, their products, and their window and door advertisements that they don’t even notice them anymore. Hopefully, many of the students attending Campbell High School will take notice of the new, vibrant and colorful mural encouraging them to ‘Breathe Aloha’ and to live a life free from e-cigarettes and other dangerous and addictive products.

HIPHI would like to thank all those involved in the coordination and production of this mural especially Principal Jon Henry Lee, Vice Principal April Hosino, PCNC Rowena Martinez, and Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawai‘i’s Coalition Coordinator Shalei Aoki.

Kevin Ramirez

Kevin Ramirez

Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i Program Manager
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