Parents encouraged to have tobacco talk

Oakland County Health Division encourages parents and health care providers to talk with youth about the dangers of cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as the school year begins. Chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. Parents and providers are also encouraged to provide tobacco-free environments to protect kids from tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.

"It is essential that we engage young people to prevent e-cigarette and tobacco use," said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County Health Division. "Far too many youth use tobacco and are exposed to secondhand smoke, which can lead to a lifetime of health risks and addiction to a deadly product."

Each year 5,200 Michigan kids under age 18 become new, daily smokers. Currently, 10.5% of Michigan high school students smoke cigarettes and 14.8% use e-cigarettes. Both rates are higher than the national average. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, the use of products containing nicotine in any form, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe for youth. The brain is not fully developed until the early to mid-20s, and exposure to nicotine during periods of significant brain development can disrupt the growth of brain circuits that control attention, learning, and risk of addiction.

E-cigarettes are battery operated devices used to inhale harmful aerosol, or e-juice. Most e-juices contain nicotine. There are many types of e-cigarettes including e-hookah pens, vape pens, and personal vaporizers, and use of these products is typically called "vaping."

The Michigan Tobacco Quitline provides services for Michigan youth of any age at 1-800-784-8669 or 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Youth can receive free telephone counseling, a free text messaging program, and a self-guided online program to help quit tobacco. Visit the Smokefree Teen website, available at for additional information and resources.

Published: Tue, Sep 11, 2018