State Launches Anti-Tobacco Campaign After Youth Use Rises

Nov 7, 2017

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The state has launched a campaign to inform parents about brightly packaged, candy-flavored tobacco products targeted to appeal to children.

The “Tobacco is Changing” campaign is scheduled to run through February in various media. State Health Officer Karen McKeown of the Department of Health Services says 80 percent of youth tobacco users say their first tobacco product was flavored...

"...for awhile we were doing very well. Kids were saying in surveys that using tobacco and related products was not cool. But what we're seeing is an uptick in use, related to cool flavors, colorful packaging. It can look like candy, it can look fun and interesting and maybe even look safer than traditional tobacco products. It is not safer...."

According to a Youth Tobacco Survey, thirteen percent of Wisconsin students report using e-cigarettes, compared to 8 percent who use conventional cigarettes, and 88 percent of high school teens say they wouldn’t try e-cigarettes if they weren’t flavored. .

"...the campaign is really designed for parents. It's called "Tobacco Is Changing". You can find out more about it at tobaccoischanging.com It's to help parents know what is happening with tobacco products. Tobacco products have changed since parents knew about it in school and we want to be able for parents to talk to their own kids...."

McKeown says the U.S. Surgeon General reports nicotine can harm the parts of the brain that control attention and learning. Tobacco is the state’s leading cause of preventable death, costing over $4 billion annually in health care and lost productivity. All tobacco users who want to stop using can get free help by calling 1-800-QUIT NOW.