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Surgeon General’s Report Shows Youth Smoking is “Not an Accident”

Tobacco industry spends over a million dollars an hour on marketing that hooks kids

Posted by: Editor | Mar 8, 2012

Smoking among American youth is a “pediatric epidemic” that isn’t occurring by accident:  It’s directly caused by tobacco industry marketing and promotion that entices teenagers to start smoking and encourages their progression to becoming regular smokers.

Smoking harms health from the very first puff. Learn more.

The new U.S. Surgeon General’s report released today by Surgeon General Regina Benjamin says the evidence “consistently and coherently” points to the intentional marketing of tobacco products to youth as a cause of young peoples’ tobacco use.

 “Youth smoking is not an accident. It doesn’t just happen,” Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh said at a Washington news conference.

Despite marketing restrictions required by legal settlements and the 2009 law giving the Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate tobacco products, the tobacco industry is still spending $10.5 billion annually – nearly $29 million each day – to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. The companies undermine and circumvent these restrictions so they can continue to make tobacco appealing and affordable to kids.

Among their tactics:

  • Concentrating their marketing in convenience stores – which two-thirds of teenagers visit at least once a week – and selling tobacco products at deep discounts that make them affordable to teens. Read about the Deadly Alliance between Big Tobacco and convenience stores

  • Pushing smokeless tobacco and creating new smokeless products in an array of colorfully packaged and sweetly flavored brands. The Surgeon General found that smokeless use by white high school boys is climbing. And among high school students who use tobacco, nearly half of boys and about one-third of girls use more than one tobacco product.   
  • Introducing sweet little cigars or cigarillos in fruit and candy flavors, and placing them in colorful packages that appeal to kids.

Watch CNN reports on the tobacco industry’s pernicious new marketing techniques, and the surgeon general’s report:  

 

We know what works to prevent youth from starting to smoke and help adults quit: The Surgeon General’s report says that comprehensive prevention programs including media campaigns, cigarette tax hikes and community and school-based programs have been shown to reduce youth smoking.  Policy makers at all levels must take aggressive action to stop this epidemic by implementing and funding these proven programs.

It’s time for them to show they’re on the side of America’s kids – not the tobacco industry.

 

 

 

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