Monday, October 25, 2010

OTPs... More Trick Than Treat

"Trick or treat!"

You'll be hearing this line all weekend. It's a phrase that brings to mind bags full of candy and kids running around dressed up like their favorite characters. After collecting as many goodies as they can, trick-or-treaters all over the country will dump out their candy bags on the floor at home and sort each piece into piles by favorites, colors, brands or whichever organizational tactic they prefer.

Big Tobacco is playing a similar game. "Trick or treat?" is what many are asking themselves when they see the Industry's latest products. These products, or OTPs (other tobacco products), disguise themselves as their favorite characters too, candy treats. The OTPs' packages look very familiar to candy and some of the products are even flavored with sweet tastes like grape, berry, watermelon, dreamsicle, cookie dough, even chocolate covered cherries. Big Tobacco brags you can take these products anywhere and use them everywhere because they are smokeless and spitless. With these qualities, smokeless and spitless, they become very easy for our kids to use without anyone knowing. Students can sit in class with a tobacco mint in their mouth and their teachers would have no idea. The sounds of a kid dumping out a tobacco mint into their mouths behind you in the car sounds the same as one dumping out a few tic tacs. Trick or treat?!

So to help you answer that question when you're standing in your local convenience store, we'll be taking a closer look at some of these products all week. Each day, Tuesday- Friday, we'll highlight a different product, help you to identify it and let you know the dangers of it. Some of the products we'll look at are Orbs (tobacco mints with nicotine), sticks (dissolvable tobacco sticks with nicotine that you place inside your mouth), strips (dissolvable strips, much like Listerine strips only instead of a minty fresh taste you're slowly taking in... you guessed it... nicotine and tobacco), and other similar products. (You do have to be 18 to purchase these products.)

These OTPs are not taxed equally to cigarettes sending a message that they are an ok alternative to smoking. The CDC has released a statement, backed by evidence, saying these products are NOT a safe alternative to cigarettes.

So trick..or treat... what do you think? We must not let Big Tobacco trick our kids with these products, leading them down a road to a lifetime of addiction. Stay tuned all week to learn about a new product each day.. and make sure your kids are aware of these "tricks" and stay away.

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