I work in a middle-high school. The students are as young as 11, and as old as 19. I work with all ages and watch them as they come in young, innocent and full of silliness (usually), and progress through discovering the nuances of approaching adulthood. The smiles come less often as they approach high school, and we, the staff, realize that stress is entering their lives. We wish we could protect them from all things that spoil childhood.
Today, I opened The Times Argus and was disgusted to find a full-page ad on the back page of the first section for JUUL e-cigarettes. Here is why I am shocked. The wording that cautions this product is not for sale to minors is in tiny print, almost illegible. The young woman in the ad looks to be high school age. She holds a pretty pink e-cigarette clearly designed to look like an accessory, such as a purse or jewelry. The byline states that: “It doesn’t smell like cigarettes. The worst thing about smoking was the smell.” Her opinion or not, that is a blatant lie.
Most of all, I am shocked that our community newspaper so disregards our youth, and that money is more important than the health and welfare of our children. How can we as teachers and staff in the high schools help our children make safe decisions when we are faced with this egregious kind of advertising? What can we do to convince our local entities to join in and stop accepting money from the tobacco companies? I am writing this to state my outrage, and to ask The Times Argus to stop accepting money for these ads.