Anti-vaping shirts prove popular at Frontier

  • A group of people pose with anti-vaping T-shirts purchased by the Deerfield Police Association and available to Frontier Regional School students who sign a contract promising not to vape. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • The back of an anti-vaping T-shirt given to Frontier Regional School students who sign a contract guaranteeing they will not vape. The shirts were purchased by the Deerfield Police Association. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • CONTRIBUTED PHOTO The front of an anti-vaping T-shirt given to Frontier Regional School students who sign a contract guaranteeing they will not vape. The shirts were purchased by the Deerfield Police Association. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 11/7/2019 6:42:27 PM
Modified: 11/7/2019 6:42:16 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Frontier Regional School and the Deerfield Police Department want to send a clear message: Hawks don’t vape.

The Police Department decided in the spring it needed to do something positive to try to persuade young adults to avoid the use of vaping products. Input was taken from Frontier students and staff members, and Det. Sgt. Adam Sokoloski recruited the help of graphic designer Emily Zraunig to create anti-vaping T-shirts in the vein of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program that aims to steer students away from drug abuse.

The shirts, purchased by the Deerfield Police Association, are free to students who sign a contract agreeing not to vape and to support the anti-vaping cause. Sgt. Brian Ravish, the school resource officer at Frontier, said he ordered 100 shirts from Whip’s Sporting Goods in Springfield and quickly handed them all out. He said he ordered a second batch, which has not yet arrived.

“I’m extremely thrilled with my students here at Frontier,” said Ravish, in his fifth year as school resource officer. “I was extremely pleased we gave them all out in about a week.”

Ravish said senior Lily Spencer was instrumental in helping pick out a design students would like.

He explained the T-shirts, when in stock, are available any time of day. He said students interested in obtaining one can meet with him and Vice Principal Scott Dredge in Dredge’s office to sign the contract. Ravish said a student must surrender the shirt if he or she is caught vaping.

Dredge said he is grateful to Ravish and the Deerfield Police Department for spearheading this campaign.

“Our goal with this project was to promote positive, pro-social messaging to have kids buy into recognizing the real health crisis vaping has created. We felt that with the positive peer pressure these shirts would create, wearing the shirts and seeing others wear them could help kids make good choices for themselves,” he said in a written statement. “The amount of kids who signed the contract to wear them, and promise not to vape, has really added to an already positive school climate here at Frontier and we truly look forward to expanding this to more students, including our middle school.”

Ravish said the effects of tobacco have long been studied, but vaping “hit us by surprise.” He said he feels vaping companies “have lied to us” by suggesting vaping is a safe alternative to tobacco, which he said it is not. Ravish spoke of recent cases of “popcorn lung,” a nickname for bronchiolitis obliterans, a disease that obstructs the smallest airways of the lungs.

“This is very scary and we just want the young student population to be educated as to the dangers,” Ravish said.

When he visited the Deerfield Board of Health in March, Municipal Tobacco Control Technical Assistance Program Director Donald J. Wilson centered his comments around Juul, an electronic cigarette manufacturer popular with high school students. He said a Juul pod can be charged on a laptop via a USB. Breathing into the pod turns its liquid, which contains some metals, into a vapor. He said school librarians have told him some students check out laptops solely to charge their Juul pods.

More information about electronic cigarettes can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at bit.ly/2y6XBug.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.




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