Monday, December 2, 2013

What’s in Store for Our Kids?

Kids in Jefferson County can walk into many stores that sell tobacco and find a variety of inexpensive, candy-flavored tobacco products within easy reach. And that's no accident. In area stores, strawberry, peach and other sweet-flavored little cigars are being sold for a dollar or two in addition to novel products such as nicotine-delivering hookah pens and electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes. The impact these flavored and novel products are having on kids is already evident.

According to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, more than 40 percent of middle and high school students who smoke report using either flavored little cigars or flavored cigarettes. Over the course of the past month, the percentage of high school boys who smoked flavored cigars jumped to 17 percent, now matching the percentage of teens that smoke cigarettes. Also increasing among teens is the use of e-cigarettes and hookah. CDC data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey shows that during the past 30 days, e-cigarette usage increased 86 percent among high school students and 83 percent among middle school students while the use of hookah increased by 30 percent.

In a public information education campaign entitled “What’s in Store for Our Kids,” Jefferson County Public Health and the Tobacco-Free Jeffco Alliance, are educating residents about how the tobacco industry is targeting kids in Jefferson County through advertising, retail-level promotions, low pricing and the use of flavors and additives intended to hook our kids. “It’s alarming to see grape, strawberry, peach, and other sweet-flavored addictive and deadly tobacco products available for prices similar to candy,” said Sarah Davis, parent and member of the Tobacco-Free Jeffco Alliance.

The Tobacco-Free Jeffco Alliance hopes community members will be concerned by the expanding menu of candy-flavored, cheap tobacco products in stores and encourages youth and adults to get involved in local tobacco prevention efforts to counter the tobacco industry’s powerful marketing tactics. For more information about the “What’s in Store for Our Kids” campaign or the Tobacco-Free Jeffco Alliance visit or contact Donna Viverette at 303-275-7555 or

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