April 19, 2023

Tobacco is changing: DHSS launches campaign aimed at parents of teens


Media Contact:
Lisa Cox
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Media Inquiry Form

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Missouri’s campaign, “Tobacco is Changing,” launched this week to educate parents about the different candy-flavored tobacco products tempting kids 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% of Missouri’s high school students have tried an e-cigarette, and 19%, 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%).

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.

In addition to the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program within DHSS, the department’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program has partnered with the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians, Missouri American Academy of Pediatrics, Missouri Association of Rural Educators, Missouri Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education, Mental Health, Public Safety and Social Services, Missouri Hospital Association, Missouri Parents as Teachers Association, Missouri School Boards Association and Tobacco Free Missouri on this campaign to help educate Missouri parents about youth e-cigarette and other tobacco product use.

The Tobacco is Changing site includes a media toolkit with fact sheets, social media content and videos for communities and partners to use in their own communication efforts.

For more information about the Tobacco Is Changing campaign, visit TobaccoIsChangingMO.org.  Free help for teens to quit using e-cigarettes is available by texting VAPEFREEMO to 873873 or at YouCanQuit.org.




DHSS branding downloadable here.


Mission of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS): To promote health and safety through prevention, collaboration, education, innovation and response.