OKLAHOMA CITY – This Halloween, the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) is reminding parents, teachers, healthcare providers and community leaders of the dangers of flavored tobacco and vaping products in disguise to mimic candy and other goodies.
âThe flavors make it easier to use tobacco or vape products,â TSET Executive Director Julie Bisbee said. âThe staggering use of flavored tobacco products by young people threatens to undo more than 20 years of progress in smoking prevention. Now, a new generation of Oklahoma is at risk of suffering a lifetime of addiction and ill health as the tobacco industry takes advantage. “
Research shows that flavored tobacco products have played a major role in increasing tobacco use among young people, especially electronic cigarettes. Four in five children who have used tobacco started with a flavored product, whether traditional cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, or nicotine-only products, which are growing in popularity.
Almost 31% of Oklahoma’s high school kids said they currently use one or more tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, according to the most recent data available. The CDC has said that no tobacco use is safe for young people. Nicotine addiction affects the brain, which continues to develop until the age of 25. The younger a person is when they start smoking, the higher their risk of addiction and premature death.
Although federal law prohibits the sale of candy and fruit flavored cigarettes, other tobacco products like little cigars, hookah, smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarettes – also known as vapes – are exempt. These products are available in a variety of flavors, including chewing gum, candy, and fruit. Menthol, a flavor popular with young people, is also exempt from the flavor ban and is found in cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and vape products.
The brightly colored packaging, attractive names and understated designs also help the vaporizer products appeal to young people and keep the device hidden from view, making them all misleading and unnecessary for parents and caregivers. .
To help protect children from the harms of tobacco products, TSET programs provide a variety of free resources, including fact sheets, posters, a phrasebook for parents, and lesson plans for teachers.
The TSET Healthy Youth initiative and Tobacco Stops With Me (TSWM) focus on preventing and reducing smoking among young people. The TSET Healthy Youth Initiative’s educational messages help 13-18 year olds understand the dangers of tobacco and its harmful effects on their bodies through the Behind the Haze and Down and Dirty campaigns. The initiative also includes a youth smoking and vape cessation program called My Life, My Life, which offers young people free text support designed especially for them. Parents can find out more about the initiative at TSETHealthyYouth.com.
TSWM’s Protect Our Kids Campaign gives parents and other adult influences the tools they need to guide youth to live tobacco-free, as well as learn what they can do to protect children from tobacco at the political level. . Learn to spot the signs of vaping, get tips for talking to your kids about tobacco, find myth-busting information to set the record straight on youth vaping, and more.
Smoking prevention materials from My Life, My Life, Stop Smoking With Me and other TSET programs are available free to order or download at TSET.OK.GOV/order.