Letters: Flavored tobacco; nurses, COVID


97
97 points

Make protecting youth a priority

The vaping industry has taken advantage of youth through their targeted advertisement of vaping products. Flavors inspired by candy and misleading health statements have encouraged youth to try products that are both illegal (under 21) and particularly harmful to youth’s developing brains. The CDC states nicotine usage in youth can harm areas of the brain controlling attention, mood, learning, and impulse control. Vape aerosols contain harmful chemicals that can also harm the lungs long-term.

The Loveland City Council has been reviewing proposed ordinances to help curb the youth vaping epidemic taking place throughout the country and locally. However, with five different ordinances being considered, the goal of curbing youth vaping must remain at the forefront of discussion. A ban on flavored vaping products along with retail licensing for tobacco retailers is the most effective legislation to curb youth use.

Flavored products like Gummy Bear and Blue Raz Cotton Candy mislead youth into believing vaping is harmless, and studies show that flavors are what most often lead to youth try vaping products. However, even with “fun” flavors, vape aerosols allow harmful chemicals to enter the body and pose long-term health risks. By the time many youth realize this, they are already addicted.

In school, I have watched classmates sit with shaking hands because they are having a nicotine withdrawal. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become even easier for youth to vape throughout the day because of remote learning. Students are left stressed, more vulnerable, and with limited adult supervision. It is important now more than ever that effective ordinances are passed. With 5 million kids in the United States now vaping, it is essential that community, state, and federal governments make it a priority to address this problem and protect our youth from the long-term effects of vaping.

Ashley Campbell

Loveland

Prohibit sale of all flavored tobacco

The Loveland City Council is voting on a number of ordinances to help curb the youth vaping epidemic. I support these comprehensive policies that will create a tobacco retail license, and prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco at all locations.

Vaping is becoming increasingly popular and poses serious health risks for our youth. Among middle and high school students who use e-cigarettes, 80% reported that flavored products were a key reason for their use. It is not just a particular flavor that is hooking kids, it is all flavors such as bubble gum, watermelon, mint and menthol.

To keep our kids from getting these products it is important that flavored tobaccos are removed from the stores. Maintaining flavors to attract adult smokers increases the risk of these products becoming available for youth. The tobacco industry has recommended keeping flavored products in age-restricted stores, however this is not something supported by the public health community.

Please join me in urging the Loveland City Council to help our youth and our community by passing a tobacco retail license that places responsibility on the retailers and prohibits the sale of all flavored tobacco products at all locations.

Pam Howard

Loveland

Lifetime smoking habit begin young

As a coach, and father of three athletes, I can tell you firsthand that a young person’s health, grades, level of motivation and the trajectory of their lives are significantly altered when they use tobacco.

It is alarming to know that the average age of initiation for tobacco use is 13. The age of initiation is critical as it changes the physiological pathways in a developing brain, contributing to addictive behaviors cited by today’s youth in the recent Healthy Kids Colorado Survey. Nearly 1 in 5 kids report reaching for a product without thinking about it, or the experience of noted, uncontrollable cravings, clear indications of addiction.

Eighty percent of adults started their tobacco use by the age of 18. Ninety-five percent started their use before the age of 21. The tobacco and vaping industry understand these numbers all too well. They know that they need youth to initiate early to build their pipeline for profit, and they have done this successfully for decades by flooding the market with flavored tobacco (poison). In fact, over 15,000 e-cigarette/e-juice flavors currently exist, in addition to over 250 cigar flavors and the decades-long marketing of menthol cigarettes to our youth and communities of color. Menthol contributes to increased smoking initiation among youth and young adults, greater addiction and decreased success in quitting smoking. It is the second most widely used flavor chosen by kids.

We owe it to our kids to get this right. No partial solutions. No partial bans. We must prioritize the health of our kids over the profits of the tobacco and vaping industry. Our City Council heard overwhelmingly that they should protect the health of Loveland’s kids by passing a prohibition on the sale of all flavored tobacco citywide. I hope they listened.

Andy Remmo

Loveland

WWII nurse would have told you to shut up, wear a mask

How interesting that the “Full gear” caller in the Sunday RH line chooses to go “The Things They Carried, Chapter 1” on the nurse. My mother was a nurse for five decades. She wore a mask on duty and followed proper protocol for “gearing” depending on the patient’s circumstance. And, yes, at risk to her own life when caring for patients with highly communicable, deadly diseases.

She loved nursing and, yes, she sometimes complained about the load, chauvinist doctors, and bull-headed members of the public. The last two decades of her career were spent in geriatric care at nursing homes. I’d guess she saw orders of magnitude more death and dying than “Full gear” saw in their two years in ‘Nam. Most combat veterans (my mother also treated the wounded from the Pacific Theater in World War II) loved their medics (essentially battlefield nurses) who treated them in the field.

When a nurse tells you to wear a mask, it’s likely because they would rather you never needed to have them stick a ventilator tube down your throat to keep you alive. And yes, my mother, who passed away years ago, would tell you to “shut up and wear a mask.” She’d say it with a smile, based on her years of experience; based on her desire to see you live a full, healthy life rather than suffer the painful death that COVID-19 can cause; and based on the fact that she loved her job and the people under her care.

Blake Stewart

Loveland

Let’s help kids make positive choices

How does that saying go? It takes a village?

The village of community, parents, elected officials, teachers, and caring adults has never been so critical in helping to mentor our kids through positive choices that will shape their lives. Not all kids come from a structured environment with caring adults. We all play a role in contributing to the next generation’s success.

I hope our City Council will recognize their role and opportunity by prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco, a known catalyst for use amongst kids. Use of tobacco is a life choice that changes the trajectory of a young person’s life, resulting in lower income earning potential and a shorter lifespan. COVID-19 presents added challenge to our smoking and vaping teens by escalating their risk for contracting the virus, and its severity as a respiratory illness.

The attraction to these products is clear. Eighty-one percent of kids initiate use of tobacco because of its flavor, and over 70 percent continue their use as a result. Cotton candy, gummy bear, mint, menthol and mango are part of a menu of over 15,000 e-cigarette flavors available on the market, along with 250-plus cigars and menthol cigarettes. The U.S. Surgeon General declared vaping use of nicotine an epidemic amongst our youth, and noted the time to act is now.

Parents and teachers alone don’t solve an epidemic. We solve it together, as their village.

Prohibiting the sale of all flavored tobacco citywide means we choose the health of Loveland’s kids over the profits of a predatory industry.

Theresa Hoffmann

Loveland


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