Students seek state funding to create anti-vaping documentary

A group of students and adults pose for a picture inside a Lansing meeting room.

Students Against Vaping (SAV), a volunteer group of high school students from Fordson, Dearborn, and Edsel Ford high schools and Henry Ford Early College, are working to secure state funding for the production of an anti-vaping documentary titled “Clearing the Air, Together: The Battle Against Vaping.”

The planned documentary will delve into the dangers of vaping, dispelling myths and offering solutions. It will feature interviews with medical professionals, educators, parents, students, and celebrity athletes, presenting a comprehensive view of the issue.  The group is seeking state funding to cover research, production, and dissemination costs, ensuring the documentary will have a broad reach and impact. The students also plan to have the anti-vaping documentary translated into multiple languages to reach a broader audience and to further raise awareness about the harmful effects of vaping and to foster behavioral change.

Dearborn High student Thomas Besek is the Students Against Vaping Legislative Committee Co-Chair and a key advocate for the initiative. 

“A recent visit with our state lawmakers in Lansing opened our eyes to the power of advocacy. We are determined to leverage this momentum and create real change in our community by addressing the critical issue of teenage vaping,” Besek said.

On Oct. 30, 2023 the Students Against Vaping Committee visited the state capitol where they participated in committee hearings, engaged with lawmakers, and delivered a letter outlining their legislative priorities to State Reps. Alabas Farhat and Erin Byrnes. The letter emphasized the need for educational initiatives, stricter regulations, and increased support services to combat teenage vaping.  The visit to Lansing coincided with National Red Ribbon Week.

“As students, we’re not just raising awareness; we’re standing up against the haze that’s clouding our generation’s future,” said Bissan Elzein, another Students Against Vaping Legislative Committee Co-Chair.  “This documentary is our voice, our message to peers: you deserve a healthier path. Let’s clear the air together and build bright, vape-free futures for ourselves and those who come after us.” 

“We are incredibly proud of our students for taking a proactive stance against teenage vaping. This documentary proposal reflects their dedication to the wellbeing of their peers and the community at large,” said Faye Nemer, Students Against Vaping Parent Co-Chair. 

The Students Against Vaping Committee is led by Dr. Violet Souweidane, the district’s Student Empowerment Facilitator, and Faye Nemer, Fordson High School PTSA President. Ms. Nemer has been working with the Fordson administration and Dearborn Police Chief  Shahin on implementing measures to reduce the prevalence of teen vaping.  Last summer, Ms. Nemer met with Dearborn Schools Superintendent Dr. Glenn Maleyko to discuss forming a district-wide student committee. 

For several years, Dearborn Public Schools has partnered with LAHC and ACCESS to bring anti-vaping programs to students and parents across the district. Dearborn High social worker Stacy Rumler and Director of Student Services Abe Mashhour oversee those efforts, which served as a launching point for creating a district-wide, student-led anti-vaping committee. Ms. Rumler and Dr. Souweidane are co-chairs of the district’s Proactive Plan for Vaping Cessation group.

“Student engagement is an absolute necessity in creating positive change in our schools. I support the work of the Students Against Vaping committee and thank our partners organizing in working together on this vitally important issue,” commented Dearborn Schools Superintendent Dr. Glenn Maleyko.