Surgeon General’s Report Shows Youth… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Surgeon General’s Report Shows Youth Smoking is “Not an Accident”

March 08, 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:

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.