LETTER: There is no ‘safe’ tobacco productTo the Telegram: For the past ten years, Wisconsin has made significant progress in reducing the number of teen and young adult smokers. But a new study from Legacy published in the May issue of the Journal of Environmental and Public Health shows a new disturbing trend: More than 30 percent of current tobacco users age 18-34 are “dual users.”
To the Telegram:
For the past ten years, Wisconsin has made significant progress in reducing the number of teen and young adult smokers. But a new study from Legacy published in the May issue of the Journal of Environmental and Public Health shows a new disturbing trend: More than 30 percent of current tobacco users age 18-34 are “dual users.”
“Dual use,” or the use of cigarettes plus another tobacco product such as chewing tobacco, little cigars, or hookah, is on the rise. The reason for the alarming trend isn’t that difficult to decipher. Big Tobacco is investing heavily in new products to entice younger users.
Many of these new products feature candy flavors and bright packaging, so it’s no surprise that many young people use them thinking they’re safe.
For example, it’s not common to hear of someone having serious health issues due to smoking from a hookah, and it might be difficult to think that Camel Mellow Orbs will give you oral cancer when they look as fun as orange Tic Tacs.
Don’t be fooled though; there is no safe form of tobacco use. Smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 carcinogens, or toxic chemicals hazardous to a person’s health. The perception that these products are a safe alternative has increased.
It wasn’t until high school that I met a fellow friend that had a love relationship with the chewing tobacco brand Skoal. In this situation, it is thankful that high school students keeping friends personal information is like holding a candle to the wind; it just doesn’t work.
His friends quickly spread the news that his dentist told him that his chewing habit was already eroding his gums at age 16. We also viewed what addiction is as he continued his chewing knowing that it could realistically give him cancer. Not to mention, that his Gatorade bottle full of chewing spit wasn’t the most attractive thing either.
If you would like to see how he might look like in the future, Google “smokeless tobacco images.” Overall, if it wasn’t for this spread of information many of us would have still been oblivious to the risks.
This new study is just another reminder that we must continue to educate folks on the dangers of all tobacco products, which could prevent oblivion mentioned in this high school story. Let’s not lose sight of our ultimate goal — to save lives and reduce the terrible toll tobacco takes on Wisconsin.
student, University of