Tobacco News and Updates: Spring 2022
The latest tobacco industry news, policies and stories are here.
Inside this edition:
- The Dangers of Secondhand Vaping
- Vaping and Mental Health During the Pandemic
- Big Tobacco Continues to Outspend Us
- TV Is Driving an Unhealthy Smoking Narrative
Study Finds Dangers in Secondhand Vapor
A new study found that secondhand vapor from e-cigarettes increased teens’ risk of bronchitis symptoms by 40% and shortness of breath by 53%.
The results were even more drastic in individuals who don’t vape or smoke, doubling and tripling their respective risk. These findings are reminiscent of the health effects associated with secondhand smoke — and combat the widespread myth that e-cigarettes are safe.
U.S. News reports that 16 states and Washington D.C. have already added e-cigarettes to their clean indoor air laws to protect citizens from secondhand vapor.
How Big Vape Is Taking Advantage of the Teen Mental Health Crisis
NPR’s Morning Edition interviewed California’s Surgeon General, Nadine Burke Harris, about how children are coping with adverse childhood experiences brought on by COVID — and how to undo the damage.
Meanwhile, the vaping industry continues to position itself as the “healthy” alternative to cigarettes. This blatant deception is causing a rapid increase in tobacco use in teens — and a sharp decrease in their mental health.
Big Tobacco Continues to Outspend Us
The good news? In Oklahoma, we’re spending $24 million annually in the fight against tobacco, earning us a spot in the Top 10 of all states.
The hard truth? Despite receiving $27 billion from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, many states continue to severely underfund tobacco prevention and cessation programs that are proven to save lives and money.
The numbers shake out to nearly 11 to 1. This means for every $1.00 spent on tobacco prevention, tobacco companies spend $11.00 on marketing. They direct many of these efforts at our kids — especially ads promoting vaping. That’s not OK.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Nationwide, the $718.5 million budgeted for tobacco prevention is only 21.7% of the $3.3 billion the CDC recommends.
- Not a single state currently funds tobacco prevention programs at the level recommended by the CDC.
- Oregon(93.9%) and Alaska (89.6%) are the only states to provide even 75% of the CDC-recommended funding.
- 33 states and DCprovide less than 25% of what the CDC recommends. 19 states fund less than 10%.
Explore the data and shareable resources here.
TV and Film Drive an Unhealthy Narrative
60% of young people’s favorite new releases feature images of tobacco. These top shows alone exposed an estimated 27 million young people to tobacco imagery in 2020 — and they aren’t the only offenders. Over 38% of movies released in 2020 also featured tobacco use.
The Truth Initiative argues that onscreen tobacco imagery points to an overall problem: the renormalization and glamorization of smoking and vaping in pop culture. This requires urgent and ongoing action.
Vaping Is on the Rise
Young people with high exposure to tobacco images in TV shows were three times as likely to start vaping than peers with no exposure, according to landmark Truth Initiative research.
It’s no secret that Big Vape and Big Tobacco are targeting our kids. As long as tobacco use is glorified in popular culture, our kids will be at risk. The Truth Initiative has joined several other public health groups in endorsing measures to reduce youth exposure to tobacco in movies, including:
- Prohibiting the identification of tobacco brands in movies
Evidence shows that teens are more susceptible to brand promotion than adults.13 Cigarette and other tobacco product brands, such as JUUL, are some of the most recognizable brands among youth and young adults.25-27
- Ensuring tobacco companies and their representatives have not paid media companies to show tobacco products in movies
Movie studios must certify that no payment for brand placement took place at any point during production, confirmed by a note in movie credits.29
- Requiring strong anti-tobacco ads to run before any film with tobacco, regardless of its rating
Showing evidence-based from public education campaigns like Truth® helps counteract the impact of smoking imagery in a film.
- Giving an R rating to all movies that contain smoking unless the movie clearly depicts the dangers of tobacco use or accurately depicts a historical figure who used tobacco
This rating will help parents and their children make appropriate decisions.
- Disallowing production subsidy policies to support movies that contain tobacco use
Films depicting tobacco should not be eligible for local production subsidies, including tax breaks and other incentives. This is especially true since state governments pay $39.9 billion each year in tobacco-related health care costs.
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