By Guest Blogger – Elisa Laird Metke, J.D., ChangeLab Solutions
It’s getting harder for smokers to find a place to light up these days, but the tobacco industry isn’t worried. It has plenty of new products to attract new users and keep the current ones hooked. The industry has introduced an array of smokeless products to give smokers a nicotine boost when they can’t light up, including E-cigarettes (battery-powered devices with inhalable nicotine), snus (teabag-like tobacco pouches), and dissolvable candy-like tobacco. The newest entry on the market is something called “Verve,” a flavored disc containing nicotine but no tobacco, which you suck on like a lozenge and then spit out. Some of the new products are unregulated and even may legally be sold to children.
Some of these new products might prove less harmful than cigarettes, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe: there’s little research on the health effects. What’s more, these new products can discourage smokers from kicking the habit by providing a “bridge” between cigarettes. And the new products that are flavored or resemble candy seem designed to get young people hooked on nicotine early, setting them up as lifelong consumers.
Want to learn more? Join the webinar from ChangeLab Solutions and The Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing on September 25 to find out more about these products and what communities can do to regulate them.