Thursday, December 13, 2012
California The tobacco industry is stepping up its promotion of smokeless products in California. These alternatives to cigarettes are heavily marketed to young people.
Just under 14 percent of California high school students smoke. A new report reveals an increasing number of young people are turning to smokeless tobacco products.
State health officials say they're especially concerned about a product called Snus. Snus is a small patch of tobacco that can be placed inside someone's upper lip. It's loaded with salt, baking soda to boost its addictive qualities and comes in a variety of mint flavors.
California public health officer Ron Chapman said in 2008, less than 1 percent of the state's retailers sold Snus. Today, it's 39 percent.
"The tobacco industry has promoted Snus as a way to get around laws or policies that restrict smoking," Chapman explained. "We know that most who use Snus also smoke, making it easier for people to stay addicted to nicotine."
Chapman said tobacco companies have been selling dissolvable smokeless products called orbs or sticks in some other states. He predicts they'll be coming to California soon.