Pitman High School Students Learn the Unsavory Side of Flavored Tobacco Products

May 2, 2024

TURLOCK, Calif. – Approximately 1,200 Pitman High School students learned an unsavory lesson about the dangers of flavored tobacco products during a presentation on April 18 by the Stanislaus Tobacco Prevention Action Team (STPAT), an American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) project aimed at reducing tobacco use and its heavy toll on health.

According to the 2022-2023 California Healthy Kids Survey, 42% percent of ninth graders and 48% of 11th graders reported that cigarettes and e-cigarettes were “very easy” to obtain.

“I’ve lost several loved ones to cancers due to smoking. Our communities face a disproportionate burden from tobacco-related diseases while tobacco companies and retailers are lining their pockets. Cancer, heart disease, cerebrovascular diseases and diabetes are among the leading causes of death in Stanislaus County, all of which can be caused by smoking. We have the opportunity to change this by educating and empowering our youth to advocate for themselves and their families,” said Cristal Martínez, STPAT intern and presenter.

Flavors are the leading reason young people use tobacco products and perceive them as less harmful. However, no form of tobacco is safe. E-cigarettes are very addictive and contain high levels of nicotine that can affect brain development, attention, learning and memory. Additionally, studies have shown that kids who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking cigarettes.

“Turlock can prioritize the health and life of our communities by ending the sale of menthol and other candy- and fruit-flavored products, which are key to Big Tobacco’s strategy to bait our kids into a potential lifetime of addiction to replace their customers who are dying of tobacco-related diseases,” said Lupe Delgado, STPAT senior tobacco control manager.

Proximity to tobacco retailers is associated with higher smoking rates and can reduce the success of those trying to quit. Policies restricting access to tobacco products and exposure to tobacco retailers are vital to preventing youth initiation, curbing tobacco use and reducing health disparities.

“We need to enact measures to keep tobacco retailers away from Turlock schools and other youth-sensitive areas, set a minimum price and pack size for cigar products, and prohibit coupons and discounts for tobacco products,” said Delgado.

STPAT also advocates for a comprehensive tobacco retail licensing program, which is fundamental to holding retailers accountable for undermining the law and illegally selling highly addictive and harmful tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Strong enforcement includes annual monitoring, fines, license suspension and revocation for non-compliant retailers. 

“It is time to put the health and lives of Turlock residents before the interests and profits of the tobacco industry,” added Delgado.

Free resources and services on quitting tobacco products are available at in English and Spanish. For help in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese, visit

Cristal Martínez and Lupe Delgado stand next to an ACS CAN sign joined by Pitman High School Assistant Principal Wendi Cook and Dean of Students Marya Moreno

Media Contacts

Priscilla Cabral-Pérez
Regional Multicultural Media Advocacy Assoc. Dir.