Given teens’ natural inclination to rebel, the approach that American policymakers and activists’ are taking to combat substance use and even vaping, is very counterproductive.
Created by behavioral scientist Gilbert Botvin, the Botvin LifeSkills Training program which was is meant to teach elementary through high school students, tools they can use to avoid substance use, violence, and other risky behaviors. Altria has for over a decade quietly been providing funding to support the University of Colorado Boulder Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence’s (CSPV) to be able to implement the Botvin programme.

Of course such fundings are generally avoided as they are considered a conflict of interest. When TIME asked Dr. Jonathan Samet, dean of the Colorado School of Public Health about this funding, he said that he was surprised to learn about the program, “coming from the public health world where such funding is avoided.”

On the otherhand, a representative from CU Boulder said that to CSPV’s knowledge, tobacco companies have never been involved in the LifeSkills curriculum development, and that the Altria branding is not visible at any point. “The center independently facilitates implementation of the program, selection of program recipients, and oversight,” the spokesperson wrote. “At no point are students introduced to any [Altria] branding.”

Why a forbidding approach is counterproductive

Meanwhile, an article on the National Review, rightly points out that given teenagers’ natural inclination to rebel and be curious towards any forbidden behavior, the approach that American policymakers and activists’ are taking to combat substance use and even vaping, is very likely being counterproductive.

Recent Study Looks Into What Drives Teens in South Asia to Use Tobacco

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