Tobacco News and Updates: Summer 2022
The latest tobacco industry news, policies and stories are here.
Inside this edition:
- Walmart Stores Remove Tobacco
- Vaping and Teen Mental Health
- What Is Synthetic Nicotine?
- Quit the Hit: New Support for OK Teens
- US Government Gets Failing Marks in Tobacco Reduction Efforts
Some Walmarts to Stop Selling Tobacco Products
After cigarette sales rose for the first time in nearly two decades in 2020, 4,700 Walmart locations in Arkansas, New Mexico, Florida and California will soon remove tobacco products from their stores. The move follows other stores like Target and CVS who discontinued sales of tobacco in 1996 and 2014 respectively. Meanwhile, pharmacy giant Walgreens continues to sell tobacco products, but its CEO has indicated that changes to that policy might be on the way.
In 2019, all Walmart locations stopped selling e-cigarettes, citing “growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity.”
While there is still much work to be done to prevent further usage of tobacco and e-cigarette products, each new store policy and piece of legislation helps protect our kids from getting hooked on nicotine. As efforts continue to remove these products from stores, we’ll see the benefits of a healthier, tobacco-free future.
How Does Vaping Affect Teen Mental Health?
Although tobacco companies market vapes as a way to relieve stress, many teens say that vaping only makes their anxiety and mental health concerns more noticeable. According to the Truth Initiative, 4 of 5 users started vaping to decrease depression, anxiety and stress, but mental health experts say that after vaping, the body produces more nicotine receptors, making it difficult to achieve the same dopamine effect by other means, creating a dependence on vaping to produce the feeling of satisfaction the body craves.
This is especially troubling considering that over half of shows targeting teens depict tobacco usage. However, quitting vaping can reverse this trend and help young people achieve better mental health.
The FDA Now Regulates Synthetic Nicotine
Until recently, synthetic nicotine products were not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), creating a loophole in regulation that allowed Big Tobacco to skirt safety regulations.
However, on March 11, 2022, President Biden signed into law legislation mandating that all synthetic nicotine be regulated by the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, just like naturally derived tobacco products. This policy should curb insidious marketing efforts labeling synthetic nicotine products as “tobacco-free,” despite having similar risks as tobacco.
TSET Launches Vaping Cessation Programs for Youth
3 of 4 Oklahoma teens who used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days say they would like to reduce their vaping. 1 in 3 of those who have attempted to quit say they’ve tried 10 times or more. To help them succeed, the TSET Healthy Youth Initiative is here.
Its newest component is Quit the Hit — a free, 5-week online program to help teens and young adults stop vaping. They are currently enrolling students at QuitTheHitNow.com.
Youth ages 13-17 who prefer individual help with quitting can utilize TSET’s My Life, My Quit program, which offers live texting, phone support and web chats with one-on-one Quit Coaches. To sign up, teens can text “Start My Quit” to 36072 or visit MyLifeMyQuit.com.
American Lung Association Grades US Government’s Tobacco Reduction Efforts
Report cards are in, and the US didn’t score well. A report from the American Lung Association states that the government gets failing grades in several areas. The report criticizes their efforts to regulate tobacco products and provide consistent federal coverage of tobacco cessation programs. They also recommend higher levels of federal tobacco taxation.
However, there is some good news in the report: the US government scored an A for mass media campaigns promoting tobacco cessation and prevention.
The report further states that overall smoking has declined, but the number of tobacco products sold during the COVID-19 pandemic increased. The report also calls for a ban on flavored tobacco products, noting that more than 8 in 10 middle and high school students who vaped used flavored products.
Tobacco Stops With Me
Fed up with Big Tobacco? We could use your voice! Join the Tobacco Stops With Me newsletter to stay up on the latest tobacco news, policy and advocacy. Sign up today!