Youth Leaders Sharpen Skills for Fight Against Tobacco
Congressional meetings highlight latest tobacco marketing tactics
Posted by: Editor | Jul 20, 2012
Across the United States, youth are playing critical roles in the fight against tobacco. They're encouraging their peers to stay tobacco-free, taking on the tobacco industry and its deceptive marketing and urging elected officials to take strong action to protect America’s kids from tobacco.
This week, 29 youth leaders from around the country gathered in Washington, DC, for a Youth Advocacy Symposium organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and sponsored by the United Health Foundation. The symposium was an opportunity for youth to share ideas and participate in skill-building workshops on leadership, advocacy and communications.
The young leaders also met with members of Congress to discuss the tobacco companies' latest marketing strategies and urge support for policies to protect kids. In particular, the youth highlighted the marketing of cheap, sweet-flavored cigars that appeal to kids.
Health advocates are urging Congress to reject pending legislation that would exempt many cigars from regulation under the landmark 2009 law granting the Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco products. Among other things, the law cracked down on tobacco marketing and sales to kids, but tobacco companies are working to weaken it by exempting some cigars.
While proponents claim the exemption would only apply to "premium" cigars, the legislation defines such cigars in a way that could include non-premium cigars with sweet flavors, low prices and colorful packaging that appeal to youth. These cigars come in flavors that include chocolate, strawberry, grape, mango and banana.
America's youth are stepping up the fight against tobacco, the nation's number one cause of preventable death. Elected officials must stand with them by supporting strong measures to reduce tobacco use.