CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Many people remember characters like Joe the Camel advertising Camel cigarettes, but in the years after ol’ Joe was taken off of advertisements, there are still tactics nicotine companies use to advertise their products.
The FDA just announced they will be allowing marketing for an E-cig, or electronic cigarette, for the first time. That e-cig is the Fuse Solo E-cig device, which they said may be able to help people stop smoking traditional cigarettes.
However, they are not encouraging people to start smoking e-cigs if they aren’t smoking to begin with.
Madison Doyel is an Ingelside High School senior that knows all too well that smoking can affect the health of those around her.
“Cancer runs really badly in my family and a lot of my mom’s side are smokers, so that’s why I’m so personally against it,” Doyel said.
Doyel said that she has noticed peers in her classes get addicted to nicotine because of the flavors.
Doyel was a part of the Students Against Destructive Decisions club at her school, a club that pushes students to make healthier choices by avoiding substances they could get addicted to, like nicotine and alcohol.
She said she feels like some of her classmates consume nicotine as a way to get try and rid of their problems or even just to fit in. She’s even heard that some of their parents approve of them smoking.
“I feel like because we’re so young it’s easier to get addicted to them, so as we get older it’s a habit that’s harder to break,” she said.
CCISD has programs for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade to help students recognize the dangers of consuming nicotine.
Dr. George Woods, the health and P.E. Specialist for CCISD, said the elementary and middle schools go through a program aimed at deterring students from smoking in their P.E. classes. The high schools usually have an assembly about it. They partner with local organizations like the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation to help students understand not just the dangers of smoking, but also, how it can be advertised to them.
“They stylize advertising, so where they place the advertising, in the advertising what is going on? Sometimes they sexualize it and sometimes they make it look like the person who is using the vape or the Juul or whatever it is, that person is doing something cool,” Woods said.
Woods said CCISD also educates students based on what the CDC reports. The CDC said each day 1,600 youth in the U.S. try their first cigarette. As for adults in Texas, the CDC found in a 2018 study that 14% of them smoke cigarettes.
Jose Ramirez, an addiction counselor in Corpus Christi, said nicotine addiction can affect the motivation and emotions of people who consume products with nicotine in them.
He said nicotine addiction can also affect someone’s memory and attention span because it’s inhaled and goes into the bloodstream, and is absorbed by brain tissue, just like alcohol and drugs.
“Everyone’s body and brain is different, and when it gets consumed into your body and your brain, your brain is going to determine whether you’re going to continue this habit or not,” Ramirez said.
As for recovery from nicotine addiction, Ramirez said some people use Nicorette gum while others taper down and cut down their habit until it’s no longer a habit. He said some people also see specialists like himself.
He said genes as well as a few other factors can influence whether someone will get addicted to a substance like nicotine.
“The social environment and the biological components of a person’s body can enhance the probability of people being susceptible to addiction and nicotine addiction as well,” Ramirez said.