Use of e-cigarettes among high school students skyrocketed by 78% from 2017 to 2018. In Montana 33% of high school students currently use tobacco products, according to the state Youth Risk Behavior Survey. These are alarming statistics and bring us to ask, what can we do to combat this epidemic?
As we wait for the FDA to weigh in, communities across the nation are addressing this issue- including Helena. The city of Helena recently held a news conference celebrating a new city ordinance that prohibits self-serve access to all tobacco and nicotine products in any store that is open to minors.
hero_image_alt_text===picture of nilla wafer e-cigarette juice next to a box of nilla wafer cookies
thumbnail_alt_text===picture of nilla wafer e-cigarette juice next to a box of nilla wafer cookies
Now, instead of placing these sweet-flavored, brightly packaged e-cigarettes, cigarillos and smokeless products near gum and candy, stores must place them beyond children’s reach, where only a clerk can access them.
Big Tobacco knows that youth frequently visit convenience stores. Tobacco corporations like Altria and RJ Reynolds spend big money to reach this audience. In 2017 alone, the industry spent $7.1 billion on in-store products placement and displays. We thank Helena for the proactive approach and encourage other cities and counties to consider additional sale restrictions, especially restricting the sale of flavored products.