News and Events

The Dixie County Students Working Against Tobacco Chapter Uses World No Tobacco Day to Draw Attention to Youth Vaping Epidemic
May 31, 2020

The Dixie County Students Working Against Tobacco have been educating their peers and promoting policies that could prevent nicotine addiction in Dixie County.  They continue to report the growth in vaping use is the most challenging in nicotine prevention. 

For the 2020 World No Tobacco Day, the Dixie County Youth emailed information about the E-Epidemic in Dixie County and a press release about “Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use.”   The World Health Organization (WHO) sponsors World No Tobacco Day around the world annualy on May 31st.  Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic this year, the Dixie SWAT youth were challenged with using social media, and virtual meetings to participate in the World Wide campaign to prevent tobacco and nicotine addiction.

E-cigarette use has exploded among Florida youth. Research indicates that advertising influences youth to try products. As Counter Tobacco, a policy resource organization says, ads build relationships with potential customers. Go to a local convenience store and look around. Are ads for candy or sweet items near e-cigarette/tobacco products or their advertisements? Are tobacco and e-cigarette advertisements waist high or lower on the entry doors? Are any tobacco products or e-cigarettes placed on the counter (even in clear cases), or near things that kids would buy? The chances are very high that you will answer “yes” to one or more of these questions. Whose attention do you think these types of advertisements are meant to attract?

If there is one thing that we have learned from tobacco company internal memos it is that they have their eyes on our youth as their next group of customers. When Congress gained access to internal tobacco company memos, we found out for sure that added flavors (like cherry and honey), colors, and even branding were all geared to attract the attention of kids.

Research shows us that kids are influenced by tobacco advertising. This makes sense. Why would tobacco companies spend $1,000,000 per day on something that has no impact? That would be an enormous waste of money. What the research reveals is that students who attend schools in neighborhoods with a higher density of tobacco retailers have more risk of becoming smokers (Henrickson, et al., 2008).

A new study of the susceptibility of at-risk youth to tobacco advertising further shows that these students had a higher risk of smoking e-cigarettes, cigarettes and cigars. They also had a higher risk of using smokeless tobacco. This study concluded that advertising at the point of sale actually had an influence on the use of alternative tobacco products (like e-cigarettes) among at-risk youth (Beleva, et al., 2018).

Communities can make some changes to the local retail environment to help keep youth from being influenced by the million dollar per day influence of tobacco companies. Simple changes such as creating local licensing for tobacco and e-cigarette retailers can also protect youth by limiting the number of retailers near their schools and parks, and the density of tobacco and nicotine retailers in neighborhoods. Communities can use policies that fit with their schools, neighborhoods, parks and common areas to make sure that kids can just be kids without the tobacco industry constantly attracting them with their million dollars of advertising each day.

The Dixie County SWAT youth encourage you to talk to other adults in your community – like parents, teachers and coaches – about e-cigarette trends and the products youth are using.  You should also familiarize yourself with the new, disposable products youth are currently using so you’ll know them when you see them. Then talk to the local school board to see how you can support your school staff in fighting this epidemic and work with your local elected officials to talk about policies that can help protect youth from nicotine addiction.

For more information on how you can help us reduce youth access to all tobacco products, including vaping products, in Dixie County please contact us at