(Salt Lake City) - Halloween is coming, and while parents are closely watching their children’s sugar intake, they should be watching for something even more dangerous year-round: smokeless tobacco products masquerading as candy.
New product packaging designs and a host of candy-like flavors—like chocolate, grape, and peach—make it easy to mistake smokeless tobacco products for gum, mints, and candy.
“Attractive packaging and added flavors are marketing tactics used to gloss over tobacco’s harmful effects and make it more appealing,” said Amy Oliver, Marketing Manager for the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) Tobacco Prevention and Control Program (TPCP). “These products are designed to recruit new users from our local youth.”
Preliminary results from a survey conducted at youth events indicate teens have a positive view of smokeless tobacco products based on how they’re packaged. Results show 73% of respondents aged 18 and younger did not believe the packages contained tobacco and 40 percent said they would consume them.
“Education is key to helping youth stay tobacco-free,” said Oliver. “The best way to protect your children is to help them make good choices by avoiding all tobacco products.”
Smokeless tobacco contains more nicotine than cigarettes and poses a serious risk for cancer and other health problems. Quitting tobacco products can bring both immediate and lifelong benefits, like a better sense of taste and smell, better lung function, and a lower risk of cancer.
For information on quitting, call the Utah Tobacco Quit Line at 1.800.QUIT.NOW or visit Utah QuitNet at www.UtahQuitNet.com.
Tobacco Prevention and Control Program
(o) 801-538-6917 (c) 801-783-9067