Dec. 19 1996
Washington, DC - Today’s survey showing teen tobacco use continuing to rise is a tragedy for our kids and our country. This trend is no coincidence. Tobacco companies spend $5 billion every year promoting a very powerful and lethal drug: nicotine. But while the tobacco industry plays a significant role in teen smoking being at its highest level in 16 years, other influences contribute to these spiraling rates. For example, the entertainment industry repeatedly portrays smoking as the "in" thing. As evidenced by this survey, tobacco companies have been successful beyond their wildest dreams in attracting new customers. Unfortunately, about 90 percent of their first-time customers are 18 and under. If tobacco executives really wanted kids not to smoke, they would do three things before the New Year: 1) pull the Marlboro Man and Joe Camel off the market; 2) tell people that tobacco kills people, and 3) endorse the FDA rule to restrict tobacco marketing and sales aimed at children.