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I AM in Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality
Jun 3

New Tobacco Products

Posted By iamincontrol | June 3, 2014

By Garin

The results are in!  Last month’s poll question was:

Which form of tobacco is used the most in your school?

You guys said:

  • Traditional cigarettes (33%)
  • E-cigarettes (0%)
  • Chewing tobacco (33%)
  • Other (i.e. cigars, Orbs, etc.) (0%)
  • No one uses tobacco, it’s pot (33%)

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you. Putting smoke in your body isn’t a good idea no matter what’s burning. Sucking (chewing) on tobacco isn’t a great idea either. If you’re between 14 and 25, you also know that “Big Tobacco” is a bunch of companies that make tobacco, and they are big fat liars. They’ve lied to people for like a billion years so that people would smoke/chew, get addicted, and then the companies would make money. So what is Big Tobacco doing now to make their money? Let’s find out.

First, they are still selling cigarettes and chew. They may say now that tobacco isn’t safe, but they aren’t removing all their “killer” products from the shelves (just go down to your local gas station if you don’t believe me). What they’re doing now is trying to get you addicted to their ‘new’ products so they can continue to take your money. Let’s look at a few examples and see where the truth lies. Then you can decide for yourself if jumping into using tobacco is really as great as Big Tobacco says it is.

Hookah:  HookahYou’ve probably seen videos on YouTube or been to a college town and seen a hookah/shisha café. While it’s true that Big Tobacco isn’t really involved in the making of hookah, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to smoke it. You may hear that using hookah, because there’s fruit involved or because of the water “filter”, is better for you than smoking but, um, that’s not true. For some reason we’ve been told that smoke (you know, from fire) is bad if it comes from a cig but is okay if it comes from a hookah. It’s still smoke and full of chemicals. Add to that loveliness the fact that you’re still getting nicotine (you know that stuff that makes smokers spend money on cigs and not other important things), and probably swapping spit (not the good kind) from a shared mouth piece. Bottom line: hookah is just a fancy-smancy way of smoking like your aunt and uncle do.

Little cigars: These little guys have tobacco company tricks all over them: fruity flavors, cheap, and marketed to the young and urban. Basically these ‘little cigars’ are a neat way for tobacco companies to get you addicted-and-dead more cheaply. The difference between most little cigars and cigarettes is that cigarettes are wrapped in paper. But there is still smoke and still nicotine in them. “What about the fruity flavors” you say? I say you won’t find any grapes or oranges in those little cigars, so you must also be smoking some serious “smell” chemicals too. #doublewhammySnus

Snus: This is a spitless spit tobacco. It comes in a pouch. It’s the first thing we’ve talked about in this post that isn’t on fire (if it is you’re using it wrong) which is a good thing. Here’s a quick list of snus facts:

Is using snus risk-free? No.
Does it still have nicotine in it? Yes.
Is it addictive? Yes.
Is there a benefit to using snus? Addiction.
If you light it on fire should you stick it in your mouth? No.Dissolvables

Dissolvables: Ever wonder what it would be like if a tic-tac, a breath strip, or a toothpick were made of tobacco? Well the tobacco industry did too, and they created them. Yep, brown, tobacco tic-tacs. This is the second thing that isn’t on fire, which is good, but they still have nicotine in them which is addictive. On top of that, think of all the fun you could have when your kid brother/sister puts a bunch of “breath mints” in his/her mouth and gets nicotine poisoning. For the most part these aren’t sold in Iowa, and they may not be sold anywhere anymore* but, if you see them, it’s a good idea to stay away. *apparently tobacco tastes bad #noduhE-cigarette

E-cigs: And now the new product that everyone’s been waiting for, e-cigs. You’ve seen them at gas stations; you’ve seen them on TV and heard about them on the radio. Maybe you’ve seen someone “smoke” one and wondered how they were “blowing smoke”. Maybe you’ve heard that there is no smoke, only pure water vapor. Heck, maybe you’ve heard they aren’t addictive. If you’re curious about e-cigs, you’re not alone. For as popular as they seem to be, little is known about whether or not they are as great as the commercials say. What chemicals do they use to hold the nicotine/flavor? What are you breathing out when you use one? Is there a long term danger? No one knows for sure yet. Will they help someone quit smoking “real” cigarettes? Maybe, but they may also lead people to start smoking. Do you think all the flavors e-cig liquids come in are really only meant for adults to use? Really? E-cigs may prove to be the best thing since sliced bread (ask your great-grandma about what bread was like before it was sliced!), but they may also be just another trick to get tobacco companies rich and you dead.

There’s a quick rundown of some of the new tobacco products that you may have seen. The smart move is to not get addicted to anything at all. If you or a friend use these or “traditional” tobacco products, you’re taking a risk. It’s the same risk that your aunt/uncle took and, if they’re still smoking, lost. You can ask any tobacco user over 30 if they wish they could quit, and 99% of the time they’ll tell you yes. Ask non-users if they wish they started and what do you think they’ll say?

Here’s what one teen thinks about all these new tobacco products:

As I kid I thought I was pretty cool if I had a tiny box of Tic Tacs in my pocket, and those strips that melted on your tongue that tasted horrible, even cooler! Today as a senior in high school, I’m once again being familiarized with those same types of products, but this time they’re in tobacco form! Tiny, mint-looking things and strips that melt in your mouth are all ways you can consume nicotine today. Did anyone else realize how the two comparisons related? What a coincidence that the things I thought were neat as a KID are now forms of nicotine!

Oh, and did I forget to mention that there is now a product that is similar to chewing on a toothpick? This of course contains nicotine, too. These products are disgusting in my opinion, but I have to give the manufacturers credit. They’re so easy to conceal and hide! Just switch some Orbs (the Tic Tac looking ones) and Tic Tacs, and BAM. No one will ever know I’m getting my nicotine intake instead of refreshing my breath during the school day. Tobacco companies are clearly targeting youth.

- Cassie

Tweet out your thoughts @IowaSTEP and @IAMincontrolIA. Be sure to follow @IowaSTEP (Iowa Students for Tobacco Education and Prevention, a youth led tobacco prevention group) on Twitter to keep up with tobacco-free activities in Iowa.

Now that summer’s here, you probably have some time to kill. Below are a crossword puzzle and a matching game about today’s tobacco products.

Tobacco product crossword
Tobacco product matching game

You are in control of staying tobacco free.