March 18 is National Day of Action, a fresh take on Kick Butts Day, a day for youth to speak out and raise awareness about the problems associated with tobacco use. You may be thinking: How does this relate to our workplace—and why should I care about promoting it to employees?
Let me explain.
As part of our work at Truth Initiative, we’re deeply invested in helping youth and young adults kick all forms of tobacco, including vaping.
But we also know that tobacco use, such as vaping, doesn’t just impact youth. It also affects their parents—the adults who bring their worries about their kids’ tobacco use and vaping habits with them to work.
And the impact this worry has on your workplace may surprise you.
Kicking Butts—Making an Impact on Youth Tobacco Use
I’m proud to report that Truth Initiative has helped reduce teen cigarette use from 23% in 2000 to less than 4% today, and prevented 2.5 million young people from becoming smokers between 2015 and 2018.
That’s the good news. Now, the not-so-good news.
While cigarette use may have decreased, unfortunately, more than a quarter of high school students (27.5%) currently use e-cigarettes. That’s up from 20.8% in 2018.
We believe the current generation can still be the one to end tobacco use. But to do so they need our collective support.
Our recent, highly successful TikTok campaign is just one example of how we’re engaging youth in conversations that inspire and normalize quitting. The first challenge, “Ice Water Trick Shot,” invited users to do their most elaborate trick shot to “Ditch their JUUL” by throwing it into a cup of ice water. Since the challenge launched in January 2020, the collection of video responses has topped 2 billion views.
Vaping and Parents: Bringing Worry to Work
Our goal and creative tactics to eliminate youth tobacco use benefit both parents and employers in ways that may not seem immediately obvious.
We recently surveyed 1,620 U.S. employed adults from a range of industries and companies to ask about their experience with vaping in the workplace. We also asked working parents about the impact a child who vapes has on their productivity.
In our research, of the parents who knew or suspected their teen or young adult child was vaping, 2/3 were very/extremely concerned. Our survey found that this concern translates into being less productive at work for parents of children who vape. With more than 5 million youth vaping, it’s likely that a significant number of parents in your workforce are struggling with this issue.
To make matters worse, most parents are flying blind. According to Truth Initiative research, almost 75% of parents indicated they received no communication from their child’s school regarding e-cigarettes.
Promoting a Creative Benefit Working Parents Need
While youth e-cigarette users are not directly part of your organization, they still affect your workforce and potentially your bottom line. With employees’ children (most likely) on a family health plan, nicotine addiction could translate into higher healthcare costs.
Comprehensive tobacco quitting programs—like the EX Program—offer support to parents with kids who vape and provide promotional materials to help you make parents aware you offer this benefit.
With a few simple steps, working parents can sign up to receive tips on how to help their child quit through text messaging, live chat coaching with experts, and a community of other parents. To date, more than 5,000 parents have registered for this support, and 93% report it’s been helpful.
Because vaping is affecting young people, as well as their parents, offering this benefit is becoming increasingly important. Need more evidence? See a recent article in Human Resource Executive magazine: Employers Turn to New Benefit to Snuff E-cigarette Epidemic.
Get additional creative ideas, beyond National Day of Action/Kick Butts Day, to promote quitting tobacco for the entire family. Download our Tip Sheet: Inspire More to Quit with 2020 Quit-smoking Calendar.