Today Show visits Wilson to film vaping segment


The Today Show

Chloe Fatsis

Principal Kimberly Martin and three Wilson students recently went on the Today Show to discuss vaping at Wilson. The interviews were part of a segment on juuling and a organization’s efforts to combat its use, which the Surgeon General of the U.S. has deemed an “epidemic.”

Wilson first started collaborating with the Truth Initiative, a non-profit that fights cigarette and e-cigarette use, in December after Martin sent a newsletter to parents with information about vaping, and how it has become prevalent at Wilson. “It was really just intended to be informational for parents,” Martin said. Unbeknownst to Martin, two Wilson parents work at the Truth Initiative, and one of them responded to the newsletter to ask if they could connect Martin with the organization. She agreed, and shortly after, received an email.

“I got an email from the Today Show saying, ‘we’re doing a segment on vaping and the Truth Initiative and we understand that you guys are starting a partnership. Can we interview you as well?’” Martin said. Sarah Shank, Managing Director of Communications at the Truth Initiative, explained that the Today Show has worked with the Truth Initiative in the past when covering vaping.

The Truth Initiative also recently introduced a program to help people quit vaping. “We had reached out to [the Today Show] about this new program that we were launching for texting to quit,” Shank said. “And they in turn were looking to try to connect with some students who either were using e-cigarettes or may not have been using. They were really open and wanted to get some youth perspective on the topic. “

NBC’s Cynthia McFadden visited Wilson on January 16 to interview Martin, as well as three students, about vaping. “It’s a little bit nerve wracking because I’m not a… media presence, I’m not skilled, trained in talking with cameras and people following you around and asking questions and all of that,” Martin said. “But it was a great experience. I really enjoyed it.”

The three Wilson students featured in the segment were students in the Mass Media and Communications pathway. “I didn’t fully realize how big it was going to be until I got there, so I was a little unprepared,” said senior Anya Pines, one of the students interviewed for the story. All three of the students said that they knew someone who vapes, and two of the three said they had vaped before.

The segment aired on January 18. Both Shank and Martin were happy with the final piece. “I think it was really great that they were able to include information from the principal at Wilson and then also from students directly,” Shank said. “I think they did a really great job showing all aspects of the issue in one piece.” Pines said she never actually watched the final piece. “I just know they used my quote, which is flattering,” she said.

Wilson plans to continue working with the Truth Initiative by promoting the “text to quit” program. “Hopefully there are students in the school that are using it, whether they want to tell their friends or not,” Shank said. “Hopefully it gets in the hands of people who want and need it.”