CLEARFIELD — Countering the tobacco industry’s efforts to market flavored tobacco and nicotine candy products is going to cost the Davis County Health Department thousands of dollars. However, the county is going to be getting a whole lot of funding help from the state.
On Tuesday, the Davis County Commission approved a contract with the state health department to receive $10,000.
The money will be used for the county health department’s tobacco-prevention and -control program in countering candy-flavored nicotine products the tobacco industry is preparing to market to young people, said Lewis Garrett, county health director.
The funds received by the health department have been given to the Davis County Youth Council, which will use the money to print materials that can be taken into schools to educate other teens about the products soon to be appearing on Utah shelves, said Sam North, health educator for the county health department.
The tobacco companies have already released the products in test markets throughout the country, he said.
To date, students have been receptive to the message the health department is sharing, North said, while parents have been shocked at the lengths to which tobacco companies will go to market to kids.
The prevention message, in addition to being taken into the county’s secondary schools, will be shared with city councils to get the word out to community leaders about the dangers associated with these products, North said.
“They have come out with these new products — most of them are not even in Utah. We are trying to get our shield up before they get in here with their sword,” he said.
The health department also wants to get a word of warning out to parents, particularly because the flavored tobacco products that could potentially cause nicotine poisoning are packaged in a way that mimics candy packaging, North said.
The flavored tobacco comes in such flavors as orange, grape and mint, flavoring that is enticing to youth, he said.
There also are nicotine dissolvable candy pieces about the size of a small breath mint being test-marketed by the tobacco companies.
Although it is unlawful for anyone younger than 19 to buy tobacco products in Utah, North said, one of the tactics used by tobacco companies is to market to teenage buyers.
And while the health department battles the tobacco industry on the local front, one Davis-area lawmaker is making the same fight at the state level.
Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton, has a bill pending at this year’s legislative session that would prohibit the marketing of nicotine candy products, county officials said.
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