Not a Lab Rat Day Exposes How History Repeating Itself When It Comes To Vaping
October 11, 2019
The second annual Not A Lab Rat Day is Wednesday, October 16. This year, Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) wants other teens to know that when it to comes to e-cigarettes, aka “vaping” products, history is repeating itself.
E-cigarette companies use the same tricks, including flavors and marketing campaigns, tobacco companies used for decades to target and recruit young smokers. Not a surprise considering Big Tobacco companies own or have significantly invested in e-cigarette companies. These are the same tobacco companies that for decades lied about the addictiveness and health effects of cigarettes.
SWAT is Florida’s youth-led movement to combat Big Tobacco. Not A Lab Rat Day is a statewide initiative that empowers youth to stand up and declare that they refuse to be the tobacco and e-cigarette industry’s “lab rats” as we wait and see the long-term health effects of vaping.
SWAT chapters across the state are holding events at their schools and in their communities to dispel myths and educate their peers about the e-cigarette industry’s connection to Big Tobacco. In St. Lucie County, the SWAT chapter and school clubs will be conducting a multitude of activities such as; Not a Lab Rat social media countdown campaign for the week of the 16th on @stlucieswat, creating a #FACT wall at one of the St. Lucie County High Schools, and conducting an interactive presentation at one of St. Lucie County Middle Schools.
Here are the facts:
- Marlboro cigarette maker Altria purchased a 35% stake in JUUL for $12.8 billion in December 2018.
- Imperial Brands, the makers of Winston and Kool, owns the e-cigarette brand Blu.
- RJ. Reynolds (RJR), the makers of Newport and Camel, owns the e-cigarette brand Vuse.
Youth vaping has increased dramatically across the country, including right here in St. Lucie County. E-cigarette companies claim their products are intended for adults, but alarming rates among teens tell a different story. About 25% of Florida high school students are vaping compared to 4% of Florida adults.
Participants in Not A Lab Rat Day events will complete placards stating that they will not be “lab rats.” SWAT plans to send placards collected statewide to the headquarters of major e-cigarette companies.
For more information, visit swatflorida.com/not-a-lab-rat/.
About Not A Lab Rat Day
Not A Lab Rat Day will be observed annually on the third Wednesday of October to bring awareness to e-cigarette use among youth, encourage youth to stand up against Big Tobacco and the e-cigarette industry, and to push for change within their communities.