In the USA, e-cigs have become all the rage among younger populations. Based on the latest 2017 statistics by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, 9.3% of adolescents aged 16 had tried an electronic cigarette.
The minimum legal age for the purchase of vaping gear and e-juice is 21 years of age in most American states. But in reality, it’s very easy for a minor to procure a vaping device. Another advantage, students can indulge in total discretion. E-cigs do not generate the strong and characteristic smell of tobacco smoke, which lingers on the breath or in a room.
According to experts, vaping could be a gateway drug to tobacco consumption. To put a stick in the wheels of this “phenomenon”, Facebook’s Oculus department financed a VR game to raise awareness, giving younger users the tools to just say No to vaping.
SmokeSCREEN VR, a training game to help teens say No to peer pressure
Yale University collaborated with PreviewLabs, a game production company, to produce the software.
The application was designed to help younger users resist the potentially negative influence of their peers. The game designers also worked to raise awareness of the dangers of e-cigarettes. The game script has not yet been revealed, however some initial communications indicated that SmokeSCREEN was designed with realistic, immersive simulation in mind.
By the end of the game, the user should have the information and skills to fight peer pressure. The game will adapt the simulation based on participant answers to a number of questions, to help them find arguments and the confidence to refuse trying out an e-cigarette if offered. If it works, this programme may be used as a preventive tool for other addictions, such as alcohol and illegal drugs, and could even be extended to mental illness or eating disorders.