I have another guest post today. This time by Lauren Modeen. I have a young daughter, as you know, and I know that when she grows up she’s going to see all sorts of images and be influenced one way or another by those images. As a parent I strongly oppose any tobacco use but find that it gets harder and harder to keep those sorts of images out and away from her. It is even harder when the marketing is done towards children and young adults. I have only begun seeing this because of what I’ve learned from OPPOSE. I’m so personally disgusted with people smoking or doing dip that I’ve never taken a look at the advertising of tobacco products. It is really eye opening. So please read Lauren’s post below.

Because I’d Want Someone to Do the Same For Me
By: Lauren Modeen

OPPOSE Underhanded Tobacco TacticsA couple of days ago, I read an article by one of my favorite authors, Amy Bloom. Titled: 10 Things I Wish I‘d Known Sooner, I was hooked right away, and to my happy surprise, the article turned out to be, quite possibly, even more fulfilling than I thought it would be. I think my thick appreciation for these words of wisdom is quite telling of my belief that you simply cannot be born knowing everything and that all the helpful advice and clues you get along the way are nothing short of little blessings.

When I think back to my 14-year-old self, I am sometimes just really happy I made it out alive in one piece. As we all know, being a teenager is really hard. No, let me rephrase.  It is haaarrrddddd.

Whether I fully appreciated it at the time or not, all these little bits I received in many ways turned out to be major saving graces, and something I hope to never take for granted. Along the same vein, I intend to pay forward the advice, sometimes in subtle ways, and sometimes in straight-up prevention ways. One example that I want to talk about, and the reason I am writing this blog is called OPPOSE.

OPPOSE is an initiative and online community started by the MA Department of Public Health. From 2004 – 2010, there was a 53 percent increase in smokeless tobacco use among 10th graders. Why? Tobacco companies are creating sneaky marketing tactics to lure kids in, get them hooked on their nicotine products, and have new users for life. Look at this slideshare document that outlines this trend.

Specifically, the OPPOSE campaign is addressing the industry’s tactics concerning the current state of; price, packaging, and placement of these items.  To focus on price, for example: research shows that youth are extremely price-sensitive in purchasing decisions. Other tobacco products (including candy-flavored cigars that are currently sold) are extremely cheap because they’re often sold individually from their sets with multiple quantities. They are often well below $5, which is much lower than the price of cigarettes.

Kids are often helpless or majorly duped in the face of these tactics, and the tobacco companies know it. While it’s pretty depressing, it is also a huge opportunity for parents to jump in, put their good wisdom to use, and make a positive difference.

Want to jump in and help also?  Here are easy 6 ways to get involved:

1) Join OPPOSE.ning.com to learn more about what’s going on and get involved.
2) Follow @OpposeTobaccoMA and RT tweets
3) Fan the Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/OpposeTobaccoMA
4) Blog about your thoughts on this on your personal blog
5) Attend a mall event near you – http://oppose.ning.com/events
6) Forward this post to parents and adults you know who might want to get involved

Thanks for reading. I hope you will join me, and pay forward the good sense instilled in you while. Why am I participating? Because I would want someone to do the same for me.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me via Twitter @exilauren or 617-680-7997.

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5 Responses to “Because I’d Want Someone to Do the Same For Me”

  1. Great post, Lauren… and great job for hosting this good information on your site, Drew! I am also strongly OPPOSE’d to tobacco products, having watched my mom smoke her whole adult life and die too young. I blog about tweens on myshinymonkey.com, and am thrilled to spread the good word there too next week… let’s keep talking about tobacco prevention and keep kids informed.
    Look at what Julie Dennehy wrote blog post ..Nom Nom Wednesday Review- Bursting the bubble on soft drinks- but bananas about Soda Stream

  2. Pam Sheraton says:

    You’ve said it sooo right, being a teenager is really hard, when I compare myself to teenagers of nowadays I remain grateful to God that I did not pick up any bad habits. Now i think about how things are going to be when I have children. Will they come out of the turbulent phase in one piece or will life rip them apart and break them leaving them to nothing:( I will definitely participate having in mind that someday it could be my kids…
    Look at what Pam Sheraton wrote blog post ..Claiming Fuel Expenses If You’re Self Employed

  3. Mo says:

    I really liked this post and the link to the 10 Things I Wish I’d Known Sooner (in fact I emailed that to some friends and got positive feedback on it as well!). I love the idea of OPPOSE and I really hope it takes off. I have a friend who has recently fallen back into smoking due to personal stress, but she started in High School and I know that her choices to cope might be different now if she hadn’t gotten into it all those years ago. It’s just so scary how unhealthy it is for her and the people around her-most especially her kid. I always think of Christopher Reeves’ wife who never smoked and died of lung cancer due to second hand smoke. It’s a tragedy that should be avoided. Thanks for this post!!

  4. Great post, Drew! I hope other bloggers choose to post about this issue too. Given that my blog targets tweens and their parents, I was proud to post Lauren’s content too: http://www.myshinymonkey.com/2011/06/guest-post-give-teens-chance-oppose.html

    Like Pam and Mo articulately said, teenage years are hard… but cancer and smoking-related illnesses are harder. And fatal.

  5. Mike says:

    You speak the truth Julie