Vaping is an epidemic. How can Hopelab help?

At Hopelab, it’s our mission to improve the health and well-being of teens and young adults. When an influx of news items in 2019 made it startlingly clear that the vaping epidemic is especially dangerous for young people, we wanted to see how we could make an impact in this important area. Danielle Ramo, PhD, Hopelab’s Senior Research Director and an expert in teen vaping, has spent the last 15 years of her career researching the effects of digital interventions on substance use. Her work showed that vaping is not safe for teens, and that digital solutions like social media are likely to reach young people and can help them to quit smoking. Dr. Ramo has also spent much of the last five years speaking to concerned parents about how to help their teens stop vaping. She heard parents’ desperation for science-based information and tips for having productive conversations at home, not just another “don’t do drugs” talk.

At Hopelab we believe that there are many different ways to make an impact, as long as there is a clear pathway to how we might improve the lives of young people. In this case, we know that teen vaping has caused an epidemic of nicotine addiction among young people that needs to be addressed. We also know that parents play a critical role in helping to shape children’s beliefs about substances, and can help their teens to stop if they become dependent. In collaboration with All Mental Health and the American Heart Association, we embarked upon a project aimed at helping parents have respectful, nuanced, informed conversations with their teens. Simultaneously, there was an opportunity to share the resources Dr. Ramo was giving to parents with a much wider audience.

Two teens kneeling in desert
Teens looking at a cell phone

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Partnering to translate expertise into a relatable resource

In order to develop the right type of intervention for this population, Hopelab partnered with All Mental Health, a technology-driven nonprofit with a mission to increase access to mental health education. All Mental Health is best known for creating innovative and engaging digital solutions that meet people where they are, like their initiative @meafterwe, which supports teens through difficult breakups. With All Mental Health’s technology and product expertise, Hopelab recognized an opportunity to translate Dr. Ramo’s research-based expertise into an accessible and engaging digital product that parents could access easily.

Partnering for impact

In order to disseminate the product to as many parents as possible, we turned to the American Heart Association (AHA), a leader in heart health and anti-smoking efforts. AHA is committed to taking down the vaping industry with investments in research, policy advocacy, and anti-vaping campaigns. With recent funding of $20 million, the End the Lies Youth Vaping and Nicotine Research Initiative will fund groundbreaking projects that focus on understanding how nicotine impacts young people.

The tool we developed is called Talk Vaping With Your Teen, and it is a resource that speaks to what parents told us they want most:: the latest and most trusted information about vaping; practical tips for having effective conversations with their teens; and techniques to remain grounded when discussing and coping with such a high-stress topic.

We are currently working with AHA to disseminate this tool to parents in need. These free resources are hosted in a way that meets parents where they already spend time: on their phones and in their email inboxes. The tool comes in two formats: 1) an email course that offers parents guidance over the course of a month, and 2) a web app for parents who want access to all the information at once. It can be accessed at:

At Hopelab, we feel proud to have played a part in responding to the teen vaping epidemic through meeting parent needs. By recognizing and delivering on strategic partnership opportunities, we regularly take on some of the most challenging health and well-being issues affecting young people today. We look forward to seeing how our tool impacts families nationwide.

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