Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tobacco Products – What’s New?

Tobacco products like everything else are changing all the time and as parents, staff and adults in general it is hard to keep up with the changes and products that youth are being exposed to. 

Why are these products a problem? One reason is that they are causing problems with education, students who use tobacco are absent from school more frequently.  Another reason is that these products are getting into the hands of the wrong people. The poison control centers have documented dissolvable tobacco products as the source of nicotine overdose in children and there are countless e-cigarettes, snus and dissolvable tobacco products that come in a variety of flavors, targeting a younger population.

So what are these products?
Dissolvable Tobacco products include items like Orbs, Strips and Sticks. 
  • Orbs contain the same amount of nicotine as one cigarette.  This product dissolves in your mouth within 10-15 minutes and the ingestion of 11-14 orbs could be fatal to a small child. 
  • Strips are a product that looks similar to a melt away breath freshener.  They dissolve in your mouth within 2-3 minutes and a single strip contains roughly the same amount of nicotine as one cigarette.
  • Sticks resemble a toothpick and take 20-25 minutes to dissolve in your mouth.  These are meant to be used much like a toothpick, or you can break off a small piece and place it between your lip and gums.  Containing three times more nicotine than a cigarette, this product could be fatal to an infant or child if ingested.
Other Tobacco Products to be aware of are:
  • Hookah which is when smoke is filtered through a bowl of water and then drawn through a rubber hose to a mouthpiece where it is inhaled.  Hookah contains 36 times more tar, 1.7 times more nicotine and 8.4 times more carbon monoxide than cigarettes.
  • E-Cigarettes are electronic cigarettes that according to the FDA are a device that allows users to inhale a vapor containing nicotine.  There is currently no scientific evidence establishing the safety of e-cigarettes.
Be aware of the products youth are exposed to and ask questions of your teen about use. This will help make sure these products don’t get in the wrong hands! 

For more information on these unregulated tobacco products please feel free to visit the SAFE Coalition information table at the Van Buren Parent Teachers conferences. These will be held February 18-21, 2013 at both the high school and elementary school. Please check with the school for exact dates and times at each center.  Ready to Quit or know someone who does want to quit?  Iowa Quitline can help! 1-800-Quit-Now (1-800-784-8669).


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