Missouri’s campaign, “Tobacco is Changing,” launched this week to educate parents about the different candy-flavored tobacco products tempting children into addiction. It is also the reality of the tobacco landscape – especially when it comes to e-cigarettes.

“Remember how shocked you were when you first heard about JUUL, the disposable e-cigarette that looks like a flash drive? Well, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the many shapes that e-cigarettes now take, including smart watches, makeup compacts –  they’re even hidden in hoodies and backpacks,” said Valerie Howard who leads Missouri’s Tobacco Prevention and Control program within the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). “When parents familiarize themselves with these new products, they will know what to look for.”

E-cigarettes continue to be the tobacco product of choice for teens. The 2021 Missouri Youth Risk Behavioral Survey shows that 40 percent of Missouri’s high school students have tried an e-cigarette, and 19 percent, or close to one in five, have used an e-cigarette in the last 30 days. There are currently more high school students in Missouri using e-cigarettes than adults who smoke, 17 percent.

Parents can view the tobacco products at TobaccoIsChangingMO.org. Site visitors will find photos of tobacco products ranging from different varieties of e-cigarettes, little cigars and cigarillos, menthol tobacco products, and even new smokeless tobacco products like toothpicks. In addition, parents can get information on tobacco industry tactics like flavors and packaging, how to talk to their child about this sometimes difficult topic and actions they can take to reduce youth tobacco use and exposure.