Tobacco is getting tougher to recognize
Cigarette use may be dropping among Wisconsin's youth, but newer, less recognizable tobacco products are gaining popularity fast. There are even “tobacco-free” products now, made with synthetic nicotine that’s just as addictive as the plant-based original. It all just goes to show there’s no such thing as a safe tobacco product.
Tobacco companies are working hard to make their products cheaper, more accessible, and easier to hide from adults than ever before. Designed to deliver nicotine, a highly addictive additive that can keep kids hooked for life, these new products come in a wide range of shapes and styles—from nicotine toothpicks, and little cigars, to disposable e-cigs and wearable vaping gear like hoodies and backpacks. Take a closer look at the new tobacco products your kids are seeing in stores and in ads, at parties, and on YouTube.
Know the products
Our helpful Know the Products fact sheet gives parents, and other caregivers, an overview of the tobacco industry’s latest, dangerous, teen-tempting products, including:
- E-cigarettes—like disposable vapes and open system devices
- Cigar products—including little cigars and cigarillos
- Smokeless tobacco products—like dip, snus, and chew
Take a closer look at tobacco's addictive products
The more you know about the tobacco industry’s dangerous product lineup, the easier it will be to talk to your kids about the serious damage youth tobacco use can do.
Learn to spot nicotine in disguise
One way to keep kids hooked on nicotine? Keep family members at home (and teachers at school) from finding out that the young people they look after are addicted. Tobacco companies are selling a range of products specifically designed to look like everyday objects: vapes hidden in hoodies and backpacks, e-cigarettes that look like toys, make-up compacts, or pens and nicotine-filled flavor pods that can pass as USB drives. Tobacco products are getting harder and harder to spot.
What to look for:
"Tobacco-free" synthetic nicotine
Tobacco companies may call these new products “pure” or “clean,” but the synthetic nicotine in new “tobacco-free” vapes and other products is still powerfully addictive. In fact, many of these products contain more kid-hooking nicotine than ever before.
Toy-like shapes and colors
Electronic smoking devices come in many shapes and sizes, but many of the most popular products come in slick shapes and fun, flashy patterns and colors. They may remind you of fidget-spinners and other small toys.
Watch out for products that integrate e-cigarettes into items that young people like to carry or wear—like a backpack, hoodie, or smartwatch. Their secret pockets, hidden tubes, and mouthpieces help kids vape unnoticed.
You may need to give the items in your child’s backpack a second look. Tobacco companies are churning out vaping products designed to look just like everyday objects, making it easy to mistake an e-cigarette for a makeup compact, a USB drive, a writing pen, or highlighter.
Tobacco companies make it easy for young people to purchase vaping products online, using credit, debit, or gift cards. Few online retailers actually verify a customer’s age, and many promise “discreet” billing and shipping—including plain packages and purposely vague invoices and shipping labels—just in case parents check the mail.
Candy flavors have gone disposable
They’re cheap, candy-sweet, and way too easy for young people to purchase. Disposable vapes are just one of the many dangerous tobacco products unaffected by federal restrictions on flavored e-cigarettes.
Support adding e-cigarettes to Wisconsin’s smoke-free law
Currently, Wisconsin’s smoke-free air law protects the public from secondhand smoke, but not the secondhand chemicals found in vape clouds.
You can help change that. Find out how you can support comprehensive tobacco policies for healthier communities in the state.
Take the Next Step
Knowledge is power. Find out how the tobacco industry creates, packages, and markets its dangerous products to hook young people in your community.