VINCENNES — The Daviess and Knox County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coalitions teamed up with the Indiana Youth Institute and Children and Family Services to host a community conversation about the effects of tobacco marketing on local youth. The Youth Worker Café took place at Vincennes University’s Fort Sackville Room on Thursday.
This forum featured Krystle Russell, TPC program coordinator-Knox County, who presented data gathered from both Knox and Daviess counties on the marketing, price promotions, and flavored tobacco products that our youth see at the point of sale.
In addition to Russell, three panelists provided insight into the data gathering process conducted by the two coalitions, the important role point of sale marketing plays in youth tobacco usage rates, why youth are vulnerable to marketing, and what local youth serving organizations can do to help youth avoid tobacco. The panelists for the event included Molly Healy, TPC program coordinator-Daviess County, Jennifer Andrews, director of counseling at VU, and Sally Petty, southwest regional director Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Commission-Indiana State Department of Health.
Molly Healy, TPC program coordinator for Daviess County said, “Many people do not realize the impact of marketing at the point of sale on our local youth. Almost nine billion dollars per year is spent by the tobacco industry to marketing these products. We know the target of the marketing is our youth through documents obtained from the tobacco industry as part of the Master Settlement Agreement. These documents clearly show that the tobacco industry targets our youth. That is one reason the coalitions felt we needed to conduct a community conversation on the tobacco of marketing and youth tobacco usage rates.”
In Indiana, the current rate of high school students in Indiana who smoke is 8.7 percent, while those who use electronic cigarettes is 10.5 percent. In addition, the café highlighted the role of flavored tobacco products in the rate of youth tobacco usage. Approximately, 51.5 percent of middle school tobacco users and 62.4 percent of high school tobacco users in Indiana use a flavored tobacco product.
Krystle Russell, TPC program coordinator Knox County said, “This café provided an excellent opportunity to educate our community on the role tobacco marketing plays on youth tobacco usage rates. Many times adults do not realize just what marketing happens at the point of sale that may be influencing our youth to use these products. The goal of the café was to offer a glimpse in what youth are seeing at the point of sale, and provide suggestions on how to reach our youth with positive messaging to help them make the decision to avoid using tobacco products.”
During the café, audience members were invited to submit questions that were then posed to the panel for further discussion.