'Flavored tobacco cause for concern'

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Recently, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services launched a new campaign focusing on the candy and fruit flavors and bright packaging of new tobacco products. The campaign is called "Tobacco Is Changing" and its aim is to show Wisconsin parents that talking to their kids about tobacco is much more than telling them not to smoke.

These products are a concern to me, especially since I have children in school. Some flavors of these new tobacco products are bubble gum, root beer, and berry blast. The packaging is very misleading in brightly colored wrappers that mimic many types of candy that my children gravitate toward. It makes me uncomfortable knowing that the tobacco companies are marketing these to such a young demographic.

Earlier this year, Youth2Youth 4 Change was a part of an assessment project called WRAP that performed retailed assessments of tobacco products in retailers across Wisconsin. We surveyed what prices certain tobacco products were, where they were placed, and how they were advertised. I was shocked to see so many flavored products right next to candy and other treats.

Concerned residents can learn more about tobacco prevention and control activities by visiting Youth 2 Youth 4 Change's Facebook page. I encourage all community members to learn more about this new campaign at tobaccoischanging.com.

Debbie Fischer, director

Youth2Youth4Change

Beloit

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