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
Youth use of tobacco products in any form is unsafe, regardless of whether it is smoked, smokeless, or electronic. Preventing tobacco initiation among youth and young adults is critical since approximately 54 percent of daily adult smokers in Kansas started smoking by age 18, and 94 percent started by age 25.5.
Youth who use multiple tobacco products are at higher risk for developing nicotine dependence and might be more likely to continue using tobacco into adulthood.1, 2 Nicotine changes adolescents’ brain activity in parts of the brain that are responsible for attention, memory and learning.3
To learn more about youth tobacco use, prevention and quitting select the link(s) below and visit the Key Resources links.
- Resist Tobacco Prevention Program
- Resist State Youth Council
- My Life, My Quit
- Tobacco Retail Strategies
Resist is a statewide, youth-led movement that uses activism to expose and encourage others to resist big tobacco’s manipulative marketing tactics.
Resist chapters are locally established youth tobacco prevention groups that work on peer-to-peer education, awareness, and policies that prevent tobacco and electronic cigarette/vaping use.
Chapters are often established within schools or already existing prevention groups. As of January 2022, 35 Resist chapters were active across the state. At its core, Resist is an educational program. Resist chapters can hold awareness events and activities in their communities and promote tobacco free environments.
Visit the Resist Website to register your Resist Chapter!
Youth Council members serve as the leaders of the Resist movement. They plan, implement, and participate in statewide events, trainings, and activities for Resist. For more information visit https://www.resisttobacco.org/youth-council/.
Looking to quit? My Life, My Quit™ is a free resource available to Kansas teens to help them quit vaping or smoking. It is your life, and you should live it your way. Text "Start My Quit" to 855.891.9989 or call to talk with a coach who is ready to listen and cheer you on. My Life, My Quit™ is always free and confidential. Start your quit today!
As e-cigarette use among Kansas youth is a significant concern, retail laws and policies should be considered to limit youth access. Communities can pursue many different retail strategies. Learn more in the resource, Point-of-Sale Strategies: A Tobacco Control Guide.
The Kansas Tobacco Retail Licensing and Zoning Report explains licensing and zoning laws, which are two prominent strategies to impact the density of tobacco retailers. Strong tobacco retail licensing laws can create self-financing programs that allow for regular enforcement and facilitate comprehensive local enforcement of all tobacco-related laws. The report includes examples of cities in Kansas that have licensing and/or zoning ordinances. The Kansas Tobacco Retail Licensing and Zoning Report and Infographic can be used by local coalitions and Resist groups to assist in strengthening local tobacco retail laws.