Gearing Up for 2024: The Battle Continues
In 2023, the battle against Big Tobacco was full of highs and lows. Delve into the details of our successes, the tobacco industry’s sinister and deadly wins and up-to-date stats to stay informed.
Oklahoma’s Wins in 2023:
- The Adult Smoking Prevalence in Oklahoma Reaches a New Low: Over the past several years, the adult smoking rate has been steadily declining, falling from 26.1% in 2011 to 15.6% in 2022. While Oklahoma remains one of the most unhealthy states in the country, the state is on track to meet or exceed its prevalence goal by 2027.
- Corrective Statements Posted: Several years ago, federal judge Gladys Kessler found popular tobacco companies guilty of civil racketeering, lying about health risks and illegally marketing to children. The judge’s 1,682-page opinion mandated that tobacco companies post corrective statements in over 200,000 retailers nationwide. October 1, 2023 was the official deadline for retailers. Now the corrective statements are posted to the public.
- FDA Wants Flavors GONE: For more than 60 years, the tobacco industry has intentionally targeted Black Americans with menthol and attracted new young customers with sweet and fruity flavors. However, the FDA is making strides toward flavor bans, including menthol. This could result in several Americans quitting tobacco and will drastically reduce the number of Americans who start smoking. Overall, the loss of flavors will result in a huge financial loss for the tobacco industry.
Checklist for 2024:
- The Rise, Fall and Rise of the Vape: Vapes and e-cigarettes have been one of the industry’s favorite ways to hook new young customers in recent years. However, the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey revealed that e-cigarette popularity among high school students dropped from 14.1% to 10% this year. To put the numbers into perspective, that means 540,000 teens said ‘no’ to vapes. Even though high schoolers have opted to cut back, there’s still a long way to go. More middle schoolers have tried vaping than ever before with the same study saw an increase from 5% to 6.6% in vape usage for preteens. In Oklahoma, 21.7% of high schoolers are still using e-cigarettes and vapes. There’s a lot of work ahead of us in 2024 to protect our kids.
- Kids in Cars With Smoke: In Oklahoma, it’s still legal to smoke in cars with children present. When kids are exposed to that level of secondhand smoke, the health risks grow exponentially. Kids who live with secondhand smoke are also more likely to develop nicotine addictions as adults. That’s more money in Big Tobacco’s pockets.
- After Decades of Bad Press, Cigarettes Are Back In: The New York Times and Wall Street Journal posted shocking articles with the big news: Traditional cigarettes are ‘in.’ Following several years of financial decline, the tobacco industry saw a spike in sales among ‘trendsetting young adults.’ Although smoking has gone in and out of fashion many times, the ‘accessory’ is back for now — especially among social smokers. The media has done a lot of heavy lifting for the tobacco industry in recent years — especially in streaming shows popular among the 15-24 age range. There has been a steady incline in positive tobacco depictions in TV shows and music videos recently, with no signs of slowing down.
Big Tobacco’s Stats in Oklahoma:
|High school students who smoke||4.0%|
|High school students who use e-cigarettes||21.7%|
|High school students who smoke more than 10 cigarettes per day||16.4%*|
|Kids (under 18) who try cigarettes for the first time each year||6,500|
|Proportion of cancer deaths in Oklahoma attributable to smoking||34.0%|
*among students who currently smoked cigarettes
Source: Tobacco Free Kids
Just remember: Big Tobacco is not on your side. Their only goals are to addict new customers and continue profiting on your suffering. However, we can stand up against them!
Learn how you can defend your family and community here.