What do you think about advertising cigarettes to kids?
5.6 million children under the age of 18 who are alive today will die prematurely as a result of smoking, including 280,000 children in New York State alone.
I don’t want that to be my child.
Even if you are a smoker, I think we can all agree that the advertising to children and teenagers is just plain wrong. As if our kids don’t get bombarded enough with bad influences — smoking shouldn’t be something that is promoted and encouraged by tobacco companies.
I remember being on a youth trip when I was 14 in England, and one of my girlfriends got a hold of a cigarette.
I tried one puff, didn’t even inhale the smoke, and thought, “This is stupid.” That was the first and last time I ever “smoked.”
My brother, on the other hand, could have bought a house by now with the money he smoked in his lifetime.
I don’t know many people who smoke, but the ones that do say they wish they had never started and could stop, including my brother.
So prevention, never even starting, is key, and making smoking look cool in ads certainly makes it harder for kids to resist trying it. Tobacco companies shouldn’t be able to advertise to impressionable young people!
Learn How You Can Help Stop Tobacco Marketing to Kids
Youth in New York have seen enough tobacco promotions, and the Tobacco Free New York State initiative thinks it’s about time to protect them and put an end to youth smoking and other tobacco use.
That’s the message it’s “Seen Enough Tobacco” campaign wants to communicate.
Their goal is to safeguard children from the billions of dollars of hard-hitting tobacco promotions in places where they can see them.
The campaign uses video, social media (#SeenEnoughTobacco), digital advertising and a “Jack and Jill (and Tobacco)” storybook that describes children’s encounters with tobacco promotions in convenience stores.
You can learn what you can do to protect children from tobacco promotions and join more than 20,000 others throughout the state by pledging your support at the campaign’s website, SeenEnoughTobacco.org.
The average age of a new smoker is 13 years old, and 90 percent of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18.
The U.S. Surgeon General calls smoking a “pediatric epidemic” and says, “Advertising and promotional activities by tobacco companies have been shown to cause the onset and continuation of smoking among adolescents and young adults.”
Even with all of this data, research shows stores popular among adolescents contain almost three times more tobacco marketing materials compared to other stores in the same community.
“Tobacco industry marketing has appealed to youth for decades, with billions of dollars spent on bright, bold, strategically placed promotions,” said Michael Seilback from the American Lung Association of the Northeast.
“Whether you’re a parent or not, smoker or non-smoker, we can all agree that the influence of tobacco promotions on some of society’s most impressionable and vulnerable members is outrageous.”
The U.S. tobacco industry spent an estimated $9.5 billion on advertising and promotion of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in 2013. This includes nearly $220 million annually in New York State, or nearly $602,000 a day.
Smoking at an early age is likely to have a detrimental impact on the health of young people. An “earlier age of onset of smoking marks the beginning of exposure to the many harmful components of smoking.” according to the U.S. Surgeon General.
There is also sufficient evidence from the U.S. Surgeon General to infer a causal relationship between active smoking and:
- Impaired lung growth, respiratory symptoms and asthma-related symptoms during childhood and adolescence.
- Early onset lung function decline during late adolescence and early adulthood.
Our kids should grow up without tobacco in their faces.
About Tobacco Free New York State
The New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control funds Tobacco Free New York State to increase support for New York State’s tobacco-free norm through youth action and community engagement. Efforts are evidence-based, policy-driven, and cost-effective approaches that decrease youth tobacco use, motivate adult smokers to quit, and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.