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Pre-emptive tobacco prevention

2011-06-22T00:00:00Z Pre-emptive tobacco preventionBy ALANA LISTOE Independent Record Helena Independent Record
June 22, 2011 12:00 am  • 

New smokeless tobacco products are flashy, somewhat disguised, and may appeal to young people, but tobacco prevention specialists in Montana are hoping to bring awareness before the products are readily available here.

Some tobacco products are becoming available in forms that mimic tea bags, breath mints and toothpicks, but they are not yet regulated the same as cigarettes. The products are dissolvable and, according to a “new products” document from the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program, “are made from finely milled tobacco and are held together by food-grade binders. They do not produce smoke, and they do not require spitting.”

The nicotine level in these dissolvable products is “unregulated and unpredictable,” the document states.

Katie Martin, tobacco prevention specialist with the City-County Health Department, made a presentation at the Youth Connections Coalition meeting Tuesday morning, sharing information about these new products that could soon hit the shelves in local stores.

Martin just returned from a national conference armed with information to share.

“The conference made it apparent to me how big of a problem this could be for our youth,” she said.

The new products are packaged to appeal to young people, Martin said.

“These products provide an opportunity for tobacco companies to get around policies,” she said. “They may seem less harmful, but they aren’t.”

Drenda Niemann, director of Youth Connections, says the health department has been a great partner in preventing substance abuse and this is another example.

Last year, 23.6 percent of eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders surveyed in the Montana Prevention Needs Assessment reported using smokeless tobacco.

Niemann says the presentation was the first step in building awareness around these products.

“Smokeless tobacco is increasing and we want to be ahead of the game as much as possible,” she said.

More often than not, tobacco companies have already launched extensive marketing campaigns before the awareness is out there, but Niemann is hoping this time it’s a little different.

“We are hoping we are ahead of the game this time around,” she said.

Martin said it’s unclear when Montanans should expect to see these products.

Reporter Alana Listoe: 447-4081 or

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(17) Comments

  1. Curmudgeon
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    Curmudgeon - June 30, 2011 11:06 am
    innocent bystander said: "What a bunch of whiny socialists."

    I don't understand: what does my wanting to avoid lung cancer and/or heart disease have to do with "socialism"?

    innocent bystander said: "If they paid the full cost of smoking, they would do less of it."

    Oh, do you mean like the "full cost" of their neighbors' hospitalization, chemotherapy, etc., for the diseases brought on by the smoker's 2nd hand smoke?

    I agree, that would bankrupt a smoker in short order.

    (I don't think "innocent bystander" even knows what is meant by that nasty buzz-word, "socialism", nor would he even recognize a real "socialist" if one bit him on the hind-quarters.

    Incidentally, did y'all know our beloved "Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag" was composed by a (gasp!) Socialist?)
  2. innocent bystander
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    innocent bystander - June 29, 2011 12:57 pm
    Btw, my kids are in private school because I'm tired of socialism in public schools.

    If they would just teach reading, writing, arithmetic, and honest history and leave social change up to parents, my very smart kids might be in public school. As it is, no thanks.
  3. innocent bystander
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    innocent bystander - June 29, 2011 12:55 pm
    What a bunch of whiny socialists. Let the market work. If you smoke, there are consequences. We should stop trying to protect people from the consequences of their actions. If they paid the full cost of smoking, they would do less of it.

    We don't need more government and fewer freedoms to protect us from stupidity. Price the behavior and let the chips fall where they may. They problem here is the socialism of paying for someone else's health care. The problem is the socialism of taking property rights by telling bars they can't allow smoking.

    Quit with the socialism, not tobacco.

    Btw, I'm going outside to smoke a cigar. A very nice one. And no one is around to see it. Am I doing it because it make sme feel macho? No, I smoke about 20 a year when I'm on vacation or when it is warm. It keeps Mosquitos and peskynprogressives away. A twofer!!!!
  4. Curmudgeon
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    Curmudgeon - June 27, 2011 11:54 am
    abodox33 said: "...if we lived in a society that let it's moral guard down and actually let people make decisions for themselves (so long as those decisions do not infringe on the rights of others)..."

    That's just the problem: smokers DO infringe on the rights of others, constantly, making others (including children) breathe their dirty poison. (Cigarettes are bad enough; in my view, cigar smoking is an act of social aggression; I think lots of cigar-smokers are trying, unsuccessfully, to appear "macho".)

    Not to mention the trashy ciggy butts smokers thoughtlessly leave everywhere in public for others to clean up. No, I have no sympathy for Big Tobacco.
  5. steeline
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    steeline - June 24, 2011 8:44 am
    We have a culture of getting "High". Young, old don't matter. Kids see parents, other adults and thier friends do it why not them? The medium of stimlation is available legal or not. If the kids don't use common drugs, pot or booze they will find other substances that will do the trick. To make certain products illegal only makes them illegal. It don't change the "demand". Education is the answer. We need to restore the American dream.
  6. abodox33
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    abodox33 - June 23, 2011 11:14 am
    Curmudgeon: I am not being satirical at all. I believe that every American citizen should have the right to pursue their dreams in this country without persecution or discrimination, so I could not possibly be more opposed to re-instituting slavery. That's just silly.

    However, if we lived in a society that let it's moral guard down and actually let people make decisions for themselves (so long as those decisions do not infringe on the rights of others), then why couldn't we let a business thrive if people make their own free will choice to purchase those products? I am not a nicotine user, nor do I condone the use of it by children in any way. But I have no problem if anyone else chooses to smoke, chew, eat fast food, sniff glue or do anything else that makes them happy.

    I think we are missing the boat on the potential economic oppurtunities worldwide with tobacco because too many over-protective parents have gotten their way with this industry.
  7. Curmudgeon
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    Curmudgeon - June 23, 2011 9:55 am
    abodox33 said: "Afterall, our first colonies were founded on tobacco, it funded the Revolutionary War, was our first real cash crop and was our number one export until the 1900s. Tobacco grows naturally on our land, and people on every corner of the globe wish to consume it in quantity. I believe that we should slow down on "moral" restrictions on this industry and regain the economic benefits of this crop."

    ABODOX writes so well that sometimes it's hard to tell when he's being serious and when he's being satirical.

    Anyway, if he's serious: maybe we should also re-institute Black slavery, which was the labor on which the economics of this wonderful crop was founded. A modest and patriotic proposal, yes?

    In my view, nicotine is even more addictive than alcohol. Why do you think the plurality of AA meetings take place in rooms where smoking is allowed? After I got off alcohol, it took another 3 years before I could unhook from nicotine.

    Big Tobacco executives are a bunch of overpaid sleazebags who want to get our kids hooked as early as possiible. They are drug pushers.

    Some day look up the DVD of the 2005 satire, "Thank You for Smoking". Hilarious. Features Montana's own JK Simmons of Missoula as the tobacco company CEO.
  8. thatsjustme
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    thatsjustme - June 22, 2011 4:03 pm
    This, as with any substance, is a matter of education. There will always be something out there dangerous for your child (and adults). The best we can do is give them education and support.
  9. holmes
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    holmes - June 22, 2011 3:49 pm
    According to the American Lung Association, 68% of smokers started before age 18, and 85% before age 21. This makes sense, because most adults are not dumb enough to start smoking if they are not already addicted. It also explains why tobacco companies aggressively target young people. If you are an adult and you want to smoke cigarettes, eat unhealthy food, not wear a seatblt, jump off a cliff, or whatever, I don't have a problem with that, as long as you pay for your own medical bills. But I do think it is different when you are talking about children. Even the smartest kids with the best parents often make stupid mistakes. With a drug that is as profoundly addictive as nicotine, these mistakes can be very costly. So I think it's certainly fair to criticize tobacco companies for marketing their products to kids.
  10. abodox33
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    abodox33 - June 22, 2011 2:31 pm
    As a person that believes in personal liberties and the right to choose how to live my life, I am all for the Tobacco industry making as much money as they can. Individuals should be able to make choices of right and wrong with limited government interference. If they choose to market "flashy" products and have high sales because of it, then good for them! In a time of economic crisis, why would we not want this industry to thrive? Afterall, our first colonies were founded on tobacco, it funded the Revolutionary War, was our first real cash crop and was our number one export until the 1900s. Tobacco grows naturally on our land, and people on every corner of the globe wish to consume it in quantity. I believe that we should slow down on "moral" restrictions on this industry and regain the economic benefits of this crop.
  11. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - June 22, 2011 2:02 pm
    Seems pretty simple to me, most kids seem to understand what illegal means and smokeless tobacco, smoking tobacco and alcohol are all illegal for kids. Then on each of these articles are warnings, most kids I know can read. If thats not enough, don't we all (or some of us) remember that first chew, first smoke or first drink of alcohol? Made most of is sick didn't it? I doubt seriously the youth have changed much and if despite warnings on the packages, the fact that its ILLEGAL for them and taste...then whats next, prohibition?
  12. diazo_
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    diazo_ - June 22, 2011 1:34 pm
    Right on, DEK. If the tobacco industry wants to package its narcotics as candy and market them to our children, who are we to interfere with the Free Market? Why, the whole industry might just pack up and take all those plum jobs to Mexico, where they know how to treat drug dealers right.
  13. justme59601
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    justme59601 - June 22, 2011 1:19 pm
    it sounds to me like we have a parenting crisis
  14. LostinTranslation
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    LostinTranslation - June 22, 2011 9:53 am
    @ DeltaEpsilonKappa: I hate to bring this to your attention but those ads and articles aren't directed at an adult who know right and wrong. They are directed at the many CHILDREN who start using tobacco at a very young age. The first time I ever saw tobacco in school was when I was 11 years old. Hardly old enough to know the true damages of the product. If the articles and ads offend you please turn the page or change the channel. They are working to educate our younger population. I do agree however on spending a little more time on alcohol education. Seems there is a huge stigma in Montana that alcohol is our only means of social stimulation.
  15. labguy
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    labguy - June 22, 2011 9:50 am
    Delta, why would it be different if they were putting this effort into alcohol prevention? They would still be telling you what is right and wrong and what is/isn't good for you.
  16. ahelena
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    ahelena - June 22, 2011 9:38 am
    The focus is on YOUTH and tobacco use...
  17. DeltaEpsilonKappa
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    DeltaEpsilonKappa - June 22, 2011 8:12 am
    Enough already on the evils of tobacco. My god I feel like I'm being bombarded daily with ad's and newspaper articles. If our Public Health Department put this much effort into the effects of alcohol on families and society that would be one thing, but I really am getting tired of being told what's right and wrong for me when it comes to tobacco use.

    I'm not a smoker or chewer. But I am an adult who knows what is right and wrong, good and bad and you don't need to be a rocket scientist to know tobacco use isn't good for you. But the daily brainwashing by television, radio and the newspaper on this subject is insane.

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