‘Sweet Deception’ program dispels myths of vaping
Lanesville students in grades 6 through 12 learned about the myths of vaping during a ‘Sweet Deception’ presentation by Hollywood actor and Indiana-native Moses Jones in the high school gymnasium Friday afternoon.
Jones has been an advocate against tobacco products since he was a kid growing up in Indianapolis. He broke the ice by showing students an old clip of him as a teen rapping about the dangers of smoking.
Today, fewer young people smoke than ever, he said, but the industry has aggressively marketed new tobacco technology, like the Juul, toward children, claiming it’s a ‘safer’ alternative to cigarettes.
‘Safer does not mean safe,’ Jones said. ‘However, you’ll have people arguing until they’re blue in the face that it is safe.
‘But, bottom line: all tobacco products are dangerous. Period,’ he said.
As part of VOICE Indiana’s Sweet Deception school tour, Jones has traveled throughout the state to teach students about the dangers of tobacco. He told the Lanesville students to reject three commonly-believed myths:
Juuls are safe.
Juuls are nicotine free.
Juuls aren’t marketed to kids.
He said the Juul is taking the place of cigarettes because, compared to smoking, it’s discrete in terms of smell and physical size. But, another reason for the product’s massive popularity is because it looks like a tech product and it’s marketed toward children, Jones said, calling it ‘the iPhone of e-cigarettes.’
‘Juul is a perfect combination of two of the most addictive things in our society: nicotine and technology,’ he said.
The branding of Juul is such that it can be used as both a noun and a verb, like other tech companies. Think of someone ‘Googling,’ ‘Photoshopping’ or ‘Ubering.’ Jones said in a similar fashion, kids today are ‘Juuling.’
The product is marketed with bright colors and juicy flavors, Jones said, because tobacco companies know that smoking isn’t selling to teens anymore.
‘They know you don’t like cigarettes, so they go, ‘Hey, don’t smoke those cancer sticks; try this out’,’ he said.
When Jones asked students to raise their hands if the first time they saw someone using a Juul was in school, about half indicated this was the case.
Jones said vaping products are promoted heavily on social media and internet apps that children use, like Instagram and Snapchat.
‘That’s not an accident,’ he said.
Jones said tobacco companies would like the product to be seen as an alternative to cigarettes, but many kids who have never smoked a cigarette are using Juuls.
‘They’re not looking to make a safe alternative; they’re looking to make lifelong customers,’ he said. ‘That’s why they invest so heavily in flavoring. They know how important the flavoring is to young people.’
Jones left the students with three challenges:
Reject the myths.
Resist and engage your community with the truth.
React and empower tobacco-free lifestyles.
‘I’m just here to give you the rest of the story,’ Jones said.
Jones can be seen in prime-time TV series like ‘The Bobby Brown Story’ and ‘Atlanta.’ He’s also known for his role in the movie ‘Night School’ starring Kevin Hart.
VOICE Indiana is a statewide initiative that aims to empower tobacco-free youth. The Sweet Deception school tour has eight remaining show dates: April 29 at Castle High School, April 30 at St. Joseph and Concord high schools, May 1 at Goshen High and Middle schools, May 2 at Warsaw Community and Plymouth high schools and May 3 at Guerin Catholic and Lapel high schools.
For more information, visit voiceindiana.org.