Youth Tobacco Use Prevention

The tobacco industry is the only industry in the world whose products, when used as intended, kills half of their users; this puts them in the morbid position of needing to find new consumers to replace the ones who have died from using their products. 9 out of 10 adult smokers begin at or before the age of 18, making school-age children the ideal target audience for tobacco industry marketing and promotions.1 Numerous internal tobacco industry documents that have been exposed in lawsuits indicated that tobacco companies have viewed kids as young as 13 years of age as a key target market.2 The industry has historically studied the smoking habits of adolescents, and developed products and marketing campaigns aimed at them.  

Nicotine is a highly addictive drug; and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to its effects during a crucial time of growth and development. Symptoms of serious nicotine addiction can appear within weeks or even days after occasional use begins, which can lead to years of nicotine use and dependence. Nicotine addiction does not only harm students physically but can also negatively affect their cognitive function. Nicotine changes adolescents’ brain activity in parts of the brain that are responsible for attention, memory and learning.3  

To find out more about the harmful effects of tobacco products on young people visit the Center for Disease Control’s Office on Smoking and Health

Youth Tobacco Use in Kansas

In Kansas, almost half (48.6%) of High School students have ever tried an e-cigarette and almost one in four (22.0%) reported that they currently use e-cigarettes.4 This increase in e-cigarette use also has increased the prevalence of overall youth tobacco users in Kansas from 17.1% in 2017 to 25.8% in 2019. Among those Kansas high school students who use tobacco, more than two in five (44.6%) report using more than one tobacco product using, raising the concern that tobacco product use trends among youth are headed in the wrong direction.5 Among those Kansas high school students who use tobacco, more than two in five (44.6%) report using more than one tobacco product using, raising the concern that tobacco product use trends among youth are headed in the wrong direction.4

With almost half (48.6%) of Kansas high school students having tried an e-cigarette, and the current e-cigarette use rate at 22%, it is essential that everyone turn their attention towards helping young people quit.4 In fact, nearly half (45.8%) of Kansas teens who currently use tobacco products tried to quit in the past year.4 This survey evidence supports the need for statewide treatment resources to help young people quit using e-cigarettes.

  1. Resist Tobacco Prevention Program
  2. Resist State Youth Council
  3. My Life, My Quit
  4. Tobacco Retail Strategies

Resist 2022 MapThe Resist program was designed to influence both state and local levels of tobacco control and prevention in Kansas. Resist chapters are locally established youth tobacco prevention groups that work on peer-to-peer education, awareness, and policies that prevent tobacco use. Chapters are often established within schools or already existing prevention groups such as Boys & Girls Club or Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapters. As of September 2021, 67 Resist chapters have been established across the state. Chapters are required to have an adult advisor and the membership of at least two youth. At its core, the Resist program is an educational program. Chapters are strongly encouraged to get trained in Taking Down Tobacco, and to become trainers themselves, to educate their peers and community. In addition, Resist chapters can also hold awareness events and activities in their communities and advocate for policy change. 

Visit the Resist Website to register your Resist Chapter!