Players vs Vaping: Using Minecraft for Good

GamerSafer partnered with MindCo Health and Stanford Reach Lab to deliver Minecraft’s first vaping prevention and cessation experience.


Did you know that teen vaping in the US is at an all-time high? In recent years, vaping amongst high-school and middle-school students has reached epidemic levels with over 5 million students reporting vaping.

Meet the newest educational Minecraft adventure map designed to educate youth about vaping risks and impacts, backed by GamerSafer, MindCo Health, and the Stanford Medicine Reach Lab.

The Problem:

Vaping leads to many health issues for teens, and more are starting the habit every year.

An increasing number of teens are vaping nicotine/tobacco and/or cannabis/THC products, with record numbers of youth addicted to nicotine as e-cigarette and vaping companies market nicotine delivery devices directly to adolescents. Almost 20% of high school and 5% of middle school students have used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. Every day, more and more parents, educators, and youth are asking for help.

“When I tell kids there are 400,000 smokers dying each year and the tobacco industry is looking to them to replace the next one who dies, it really wakes them up.’

– Dr. Bonnie Halpern-Felsher of Reach Lab Stanford, co-developer on the project

The Project:

Meeting and educating youth about vaping risks where they are

Leveraging Minecraft’s platform and capillarity, thousands of teenagers can now engage with vaping cessation and prevention content directly from their homes.

GamerSafer partnered Minecraft servers and customers are working alongside us to bring vaping education to their players through an engaging adventure map. Players can have fun completing challenging puzzles and mini-games while seamlessly answering questions and learning about the harmful effects of vaping.

The gameplay takes place at the start of the school year in the fictitious Dark Forest High School, with characters that will lead the player through challenges while educating them about the risks and harms of vaping.

Once a player completes the map, they’re given a special cosmetic prize that they can use elsewhere on the server. It’s a win-win-win for players who can learn about the impact of vaping while playing a fun map to win a prize!

The anonymized data collected in game, will help researchers to understand player’s knowledge and behaviors and craft new studies and prevention-related initiatives.

Players join the map through GamerSafer’s Minecraft server partners

The Collaborators:

This project was created by Stanford Reach Lab, MindCo Health, and GamerSafer

Stanford Medicine Reach Lab – Dr. Halpern-Felsher’s Reach lab at Stanford University School of Medicine is at the forefront of research, education, prevention, and advocacy regarding nicotine delivery devices.

MindCo Health – MindCo is a virtual reality digital therapy company based in Silicon Valley, providing hospitals and organizations with the tools they need to become smoke-free and reduce their workforce stress levels.

GamerSafer – GamerSafer’s vision is to scale online safety and positive and fair play experiences to millions of players worldwide. Using computer vision and artificial intelligence, its identity management solution helps multiplayer games, esports platforms, and online communities defeat fraud, crimes, and disruptive behaviors.

We would love to hear what you’re doing to make the gaming industry a safer and more inclusive environment.

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