Does Back To School Mean Back To Vaping?

It’s hard to believe the kids are back in school and fall is just around the corner. Parents, grandparents, and many other friends and family will be busy attending the students varies activities such as sports, concerts and other exciting school events. The start of each school year is an exciting fresh start new start to reunite with old friends and a time to make new ones.

Guess who else pays a lot of attention to our youth? Big Tobacco. They spend approximately $9.2 billion dollars a year at what is called “Point of Sale Marketing”. This is where they market their products where they are sold. They are mostly sold at convenience stores. The next time you are in a convenience store, pay extra close attention to the packaging tobacco products displayed behind the counter and the candy displayed in the front of the counter. You will notice a lot of similarities and flavors. As far as any form of vape is concerned, the FDA is not regulating how or where they are sold, so they show up on line, in social media, TV ads and anywhere else they can find to pitch their product. Thirteen-hundred people die every day in the U.S. due to a tobacco related illness and our youth are targets as their tobacco user replacements.

As the youth vaping epidemic continues with the Richland County Youth Risk Behavior Survey showing that 55% of high school students and 26% of middle school students are currently vaping, a new type of nicotine flavored product is gaining popularity and raising health concerns. Oral nicotine pouches are a new category in tobacco product that includes brands such as Zyn, On! and Velo. The use of flavoring in tobacco products has been more than proven to appeal to youth and sales data show that nicotine pouches are increasing in popularity. According to a Nielsen data report, Zyn nicotine pouch dollar sales in convenience stores increased 470% in the first half of 2020.

The dangers of using any form of nicotine or tobacco product have been known for many years but it is especially dangerous to the youth because of the damage it can do to the development of their brain. The frontal lobe of the human brain is not fully developed until the age of around 25-26 years of age. Nicotine is not only additive, it damages the brain and shortens the life of the user. Our youth deserve better than to be the target of Big Tobacco’s get rich tobacco marketing, building appeal with candy flavored products.

Talk to your kids about the dangers of tobacco use, the way Big Tobacco uses them to make money, and that you love them and want them to have a long, healthy life.

If anyone in your family is addicted to tobacco and ready to call it quits, contact the Quit Line at or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

If you know of a youth who is reaching out for help, they have their own program called plus there are many other texting programs out there that teens have found very helpful or call Jacklyn at the Richland County Health Department for more information, 406-433-2207 or email at [email protected]. We are here to help!


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