Almost one out of every three kids in Maine will have become an addicted smoker by the time he or she has reached young adulthood. Over 25,000 Maine kids who are currently under 18 will die early from using tobacco.
“The ability to attract new smokers and develop them into a young adult franchise is key to brand development.” –1991 Philip Morris report
Their product is addictive, deadly, and it’s sold with lies. As much as a third of all youth who experiment with smoking do so because of effective tobacco industry marketing.
Nationally, college-age smoking rates rose dramatically in the 1990s. Today, almost 27% of college students smoke in the U.S. The rates are higher among young adults who leave home and go straight to work – more than 37% of them smoke. “Social” smoking and cigar smoking is also on the rise for young adults.
TheTruth.com is an interactive, in-your-face website that helps young adults learn the truth about Big Tobacco.
In 2003, cigarette companies spent $15.2 billion annually, or more than $41 million per day, on advertising and promotion. Cigarette advertising and promotional expenditures have more than doubled since 1998. In Maine, the total spent promoting tobacco is now almost $70 million annually, and dollars devoted to web sites, sponsorships and direct mail have spiked drastically.
The tobacco companies’ efforts are working: Kids are very vulnerable to the highly addictive nature of tobacco. As much as a third of all youth who experiment with smoking do so because of effective tobacco industry marketing.
On August 17, 2006, US District Judge Gladys Kesseler issued a federal opinion in the federal government’s lawsuit against major tobacco companies. It was found that the tobacco companies (the defendants) violated civil racketeering laws, defrauded the American public by lying over decades about the health risks of tobacco, did market to children, and continue to deceive the public by “recruiting new smokers (the majority of whom are under the age of 18), preventing current smokers from quitting, and thereby sustaining the industry.”
It is important to keep the topic of addiction in the ongoing conversation with your kids. Take a look at these shocking statistics from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:
To learn more about addiction, read the facts about youth and tobacco addiction from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Call the Maine Tobacco HelpLine for information on helping teens quit at 1-800-207-1230 or view our Quit Tobacco page.