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Is Big Tobacco in your Kid's Backpack?

Updated: Mar 13, 2019

If you would have told many of our parents or even grandparents that someday we wouldn't be able to smoke on an airplane, they may have laughed. Smoking was ingrained in our culture so seamlessly. Now, thanks to research, we have the knowledge we didn't have to inform us to make healthier choices - for our lungs, for our brains, for our bodies and for our youth. For years, tobacco use among youth had declined. Big Tobacco had really taken a hit by the facts. Until now.

Unfortunately for the first time in a long time, youth tobacco use rates in Minnesota and across the country are back on the rise. The culprit? E-cigarettes. 

The 2017 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey showed the youth tobacco usage rate has increased for the first time since 2000, when the survey first began.  One in five youth (19.2 percent) currently use e-cigarettes, according to the survey. That is a 49 percent increase since the survey in 2014.

Tobacco use was dying among youth so the industry put their best people on it and e-cigarettes were born. Make no mistake about it, despite their best marketing efforts, e-cigarettes are just as harmful, if not MORE harmful, than traditional cigarettes. The scary thing is most youth don't believe it. And perhaps even scarier, many don't know they're taking in nicotine. The marketing strategies of e-cigarettes are owning our youth and even many our adults.

Let us help you not fall into their trap. 

E-cigarettes go by many names. JUUL (a very popular brand of e-cigs), e-hookahs, e-pipes, vape pens, hookah pens, personal vaporizers, ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems). 

It is really difficult to recognize today’s craftily designed e-cigarettes. They've evolved over the years since their initial launch in the United States in 2006. They used to look just like a traditional cigarette but that wasn't drawing the teens to use them. Today, they look more like USB storage devices, driven by JUUL, the market leader, and many other common objects as outlined in the photo below.

Tobacco products are designed to look like everyday items like candy and school supplies.
Is Big Tobacco in your kid's backpack?

The nicotine and flavor pods that JUUL users are drawn to consist of potent nicotine salts in a flavor, each packing the same nicotine punch as a pack of traditional cigarettes. Some users inhale multiple pods per day. Flavors like creme brule, fruit medley and mango are attractive to youth users yet most youth don't realize they contain nicotine, a highly addictive chemical for any developing brain. 

As the industry evolves and continues to target our kids, we need to equip ourselves with the armor of knowledge to help our kids and their developing brains be as healthy as they can be. 

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