TOBACCO FREE YOUTH
The tobacco industry is working to create the next generation of smokers today, which is why we need to work twice as hard to prevent youth smoking. As older smokers pass away or quit, the tobacco companies look to youth and young adults as their replacements. They know that nearly 90% of adult smokers started in their teenage years – and that if someone reaches 21 without becoming a smoker, there’s only a 2% chance they will start.
Since tobacco companies recognize the importance of getting smokers started early, they’ve developed sophisticated and effective ways to make smoking more appealing to kids and teens. “Eye level is buy level” product placement at the point of sale, ads selling a youthful image, fruity flavored tobaccos, and other trending products are all savvy attempts to recruit youth smokers.
In Rhode Island, the tobacco industry spends $63 marketing their products for every $1 we spend on prevention – that’s a lot of money to make sure their message reaches young people. As tobacco free youth advocates, it’s our responsibility to counter that message with one about the dangers of smoking. That’s why advocates have created youth-friendly anti-smoking events like Kick Butts Day, “Zombie Walks,” and youth conferences. Below you’ll find some resources to help you get the tobacco free message to youth in your community.