The Chicago Department of Public Health recently launched a new campaign to help reduce youth smoking called “Tastes of Toxins.” The campaign focuses on raising awareness about the health risks of using “Other Tobacco Products” (OTPs) such as cigarillos, hookahs, e-cigarettes, snuff, and chewing tobacco, which are often candy or fruit-flavored, yet can be just as addictive and harmful as cigarettes.
Characterizing flavors in cigarettes were prohibited under the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act , however the tobacco industry heavily markets and advertises other tobacco products with these flavors, increasing their appeal to youth. Not only are these tobacco products flavored like and often displayed near candy, the packaging makes them look like candy, too. Check out the youth-appeal photos in our gallery to see for yourself. These inexpensive products appeal to price sensitive youth. Without minimum pack sizes, they can be sold in individual packages, yet cities lack the jurisdiction to raise taxes for OTPs like they can for cigarettes.
However, the City of Chicago has taken a number of steps to reduce youth access to tobacco at the point of sale through other pathways, banning the sale of flavored tobacco products (including menthol!) within 500 feet of schools, regulating e-cigarettes, and launching a media campaign around the dangers of menthol.
Read more about policy solutions on Restricting Product Availability, Placement, and Packaging and Raising Tobacco Prices through Non-Tax Approaches to help reduce youth access, and find tips on regulating flavored products.
The “Tastes of Toxins” campaign features a webpage (www.CityofChicago.org/TOBACCO) for parents and youth that includes information and resources on Other Tobacco Products, including cessation resources and citywide statistics on youth and adolescent use of these products.
Also check out the campaign on social media using the hashtag #FruitFlavoredPoison.