FILE – In this April 16, 2019 file photo, a researcher holds vape pens in a laboratory in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer, File)
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust plans to roll out an animated message next week to educate teens about the negative effects vaping can have on their bodies.
As a part of their Behind the Haze campaign, ‘In the Skin’ will play effectively as a commercial over television and radios networks beginning Jan. 9. The spot will be scheduled around family programming in an effort to spark conversations in the home with adults and their children.
TSET Director of Public Information and Government Affairs Thomas Larson said the goal is to show the damage the chemicals in vaping can have on DNA in a different way.
“You can explain through statistics, or things like that, the dangers of vaping or why it’s an important issue, but visuals really help connect the audience to the issue,” said Larson. “The vapor includes things like formaldehyde, there are also heavy metals like nickel and lead in there, so it’s not water vapor it’s something dangerous.”
Larson said he hopes this message will act as a tool to equip teens with education before they make a decision that can have irreversible consequences.
“We know every day teens are being advertised to,” said Larson. “They may know people at school who are vaping and we want them to go into those encounters with knowledge that that can set you up for a lifetime of addiction, and vapes are not harmless.”
Making the PSA an animated short is intended to resonate with a younger audience. A 2023 CDC report showed that 10% of middle and high school students nationwide reported actively using a tobacco product.
That is roughly 2.80 million children.
Year over year from there was a 4% decline in e-cigarette usage across high school students in the U.S., going from 14% to 10%.
In Oklahoma though, Larson says about 21% of high school students are actively vaping.
“Its something that can damage your body and create a long term last impact,” said Larson. “Starting with teens, before they’re addicted and before they have taken up this habit, is really important for curbing the vaping and tobacco use in Oklahoma.”
TSET has resources available for teenagers and youth across the state seeking help kicking the habit. Those in need can utilize their service My Life, My Quit at MyLifeMyQuit.com or by texting “Start My Quit” to 36072.
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