Tobacco is changing. That’s the name of Wisconsin’s campaign to educate about the different candy-flavored tobacco products tempting kids into addiction. It’s also the reality of the tobacco landscape – especially when it comes to e-cigarettes.
Remember how shocked you were when you first heard about JUUL, the disposable e-cigarette that looks like a flash drive? Well, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the many shapes that e-cigarettes now take, including smartwatches, makeup compacts, they’re even hidden in hoodies and backpacks.
“Today’s tobacco looks completely different. Between the flashy colors, sleek designs, and outrageous flavor options, it’s actually quite disgusting how far these products have gone to blend into kids’ daily life,” said Hannah Wilz, Youth Coordinator with REACH. “It’s so important that everyone in our community, not just parents, but schools and retailers too, know that today’s tobacco is hiding in plain sight. We don’t want anyone to be fooled. We can’t be fooled. Addiction poses a very real and very dangerous threat to our kids.”
E-cigarettes continue to be the tobacco product of choice for teens. The 2019 Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows that nearly half of Wisconsin high school students have tried an e-cigarette, and one in five have used an e-cigarette in the last 30 days.
The good news is that our community is actively working to fight back. REACH is partnering with Community Action for Healthy Living to build off of more than a decade’s worth of experience in tobacco prevention and control to ensure no one in our community - parents, adults, retailers, and schools - is fooled by today’s tobacco tricks through the “Tobacco Is Changing” campaign. www.cahlinc.org.
“It’s going to take all of us working together, so we wanted to make sure everyone has the resources they need to play their part,” said Hannah. “Our website builds off the great work already being done in our communities and across the state to provide a one-stop-shop for everyone to learn their role in protecting the next generation from a life of addiction.”
For more on the campaign or other local health efforts in Northeast Wisconsin, REACH invites community members to visit www.cahlinc.org. REACH also reminds all tobacco users that free help is available through the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line by calling 1-800-QUIT NOW or texting “READY” to 200-400. Individuals enrolled in Medicaid can also talk to their doctor about free services offered through the Medicaid Cessation Benefit.