A pilot project to evaluate the ‘CATCH My Breath’ vaping prevention curriculum in Canada: Final Report

Vaping has increased dramatically among youth in Canada. However, there is a lack of evidence for effective school-based prevention approaches targeting vaping, particularly for high school-aged students. The objectives of this pilot study were to 1) identify youth and presenter perceptions of the appeal, appropriateness, and comprehensiveness of the ‘CATCH My Breath’ (CMB) vaping prevention curriculum; 2) assess short-term changes in knowledge of and attitudes towards vaping after exposure to the curriculum; and 3) examine the feasibility of implementing CMB in high schools in Ontario, Canada. A convenience sample of 10 high schools across Ontario implemented the CMB curriculum in 28 classes. CMB is an evidence-based vaping prevention curriculum developed in the US. Surveys were given to students before/after exposure to the curriculum to assess changes in vaping knowledge and attitudes. A subgroup of students participated in focus groups and curriculum presenters participated in interviews to provide feedback about the curriculum. Qualitative thematic analyses identified major themes from student focus groups and presenter interviews. McNemar’s exact test assessed changes in knowledge and attitudes before/after curriculum delivery. Curriculum presenters and students highlighted key aspects of the curriculum including the negative health risks of vaping, vaping industry tactics, the development of refusal skills, and engaging activities to keep student interest. While curriculum presenters and students generally thought that the curriculum was appealing, appropriate, and comprehensive, they offered some suggestions for improvement, including revising and adding content, and modifying activities. After exposure to the curriculum, the average knowledge score increased significantly from 5.5/9 to 7.5/9 (p<0.001). At follow-up, more students correctly identified that e-cigarette vapour does not contain mostly water (baseline: 38.5%, follow-up: 82.6%; p<0.001) and fewer students agreed that most people in high school vape (baseline: 83.8%, follow-up: 75.2%; p=0.049). The ‘CATCH My Breath’ vaping prevention curriculum was easily delivered in high school classrooms in Ontario. Some modifications to the curriculum are necessary to make it appropriate for high school students. Future studies should evaluate the short- and long-term impacts of exposure to the curriculum on student vaping behaviours.
E-cigarette, Youth/adolescent, Prevention program, Pilot study