Growing mental health crisis means more Oklahoma kids at risk of addiction

OKLAHOMA CITY (October 6, 2022) – The Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) is creating awareness of the growing teen mental health and vaping issue with the launch of a new educational message from their Behind The Haze brand.

According to Mental Health America, approximately 54,000 youth in Oklahoma experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year. And a spring 2022 TSET survey of 275 Oklahoma teenagers showed that amongst past 30-day vape users, 57% cited stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health-related reasons for use.

Electronic cigarettes, or vapes, are known to contain extremely high amounts of nicotine, which the CDC says can harm the parts of the brain that control youths’ attention, learning, mood and impulse control. TSET’s new youth vaping prevention ad, titled “Off,” explains how vaping nicotine can worsen — not relieve — feelings of anxiety by breaking down the science behind its impacts.

“Off” launches on TV, cable and radio on October 10. Oklahoma teens can also interact with the campaign online through digital and social media. The goal is to prompt family conversations about the dangers of vaping and tobacco and encourage kids to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Behind The Haze is part of the TSET Healthy Youth Initiative — a statewide public health education campaign geared toward Oklahoma youth ages 13–18. You can view “Off” and other youth tobacco prevention messages by visiting the TSET Healthy Youth Initiative website: TSETHealthyYouth.com.

In addition to the new ad, TSET has free healthy youth resources for educators and health care providers, including flyers, bookmarks, brochures and posters. These items, which focus on healthier eating options and tobacco prevention, can be viewed and ordered at TSETHealthyYouth.com/order


The TSET Healthy Youth Initiative is a statewide media effort focused on preventing and reducing tobacco use and obesity for Oklahomans ages 13–18. The initiative promotes healthy lifestyle choices for teens and gives parents resources to support their children in maintaining or developing healthy habits for a lifetime. Visit TSETHealthyYouth.com to learn more.

The Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working with local coalitions and initiatives across the state, cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public’s health. To learn more, visit Oklahoma.gov/TSET.