So you’ve had the talk, right? The one
where you sat your kids down and told them to stay away from cigarettes;
because cigarettes are dangerous, addictive, and full of nasty
cancer-causing chemicals. That’s what I did. I’m pretty sure my kids even
listened. And I thought my work was done. Man, was I wrong.
Tobacco’s changed. I found out there’s a whole new generation of nicotine
products out there: pouches, and liquids, some even run on batteries. And the
flavors are ridiculous. There’s a lot to learn, so let’s get started. Looking for
something sweet? You can skip the candy aisle. Now many of the same flavorings
used in popular candies and treats can be found in a bunch of addictive new
tobacco products. There’s grape, strawberry, cotton candy, even gummy bear.
It’s unbelievable; until you realize most tobacco users get started before they
turn 18. The fact is flavored tobacco products are often the very first
tobacco product a young person tries. And there’s just so many flavors and
products for them to choose from. Like these little cigars and cigarillos.
Available in hundreds of flavors, they’re sold in packs and one by one – sometimes
for less than a dollar. Just look how shiny they are. Then there’s dip, chew, and
snus. If you’re thinking smokeless tobacco is a safe alternative, you’re
wrong. This stuff can lead to mouth sores, tooth decay, and cancer. Menthol
cigarettes – old school right? But they’re basically the original flavored-tobacco
product. More young people smoked menthols than any other age group.
Finally, electronic cigarettes – in so many styles, it’s hard to keep track. In
Wisconsin, vaping is more popular with kids than old-fashioned cigarettes. But
just like cigarettes, if it’s got nicotine in it, it’s
addictive. Some people struggle their whole lives to quit. I don’t want that
for my kids. So what can a parent do? Start by learning more about the new
tobacco products out there. Get involved. And make sure your kids
know – sweet flavors don’t make tobacco products any safer or less addictive.
Tobacco’s changing parents. We’ve got to keep up.