Big Tobacco and the Marketing Market
On any given day in New York, thousands of children under the age of 18 wander in and out of convenience stores. They buy gum, candy, chips and sodas, innocent indulgences for today’s youths. But for every trip inside the store to pick up a Snickers bar, those same kids are being inundated with millions of dollars worth of big tobacco marketing – marketing specifically designed to get children to start smoking. The ads are everywhere you look. A sticker for Marlboro stuck to the sliding door of the freezer that stands between a kid and a popsicle. A life-size Joe Camel cardboard cutout looming behind a rack of Cheetos. And the ads aren’t just inside stores. They’re on the backs of magazines like Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly. They’re online, in newspapers, on TV and in movies. They’re virtually inescapable, and they’re in the faces of those most vulnerable to the ads. Despite the efforts to maintain federal restrictions on advertising and to combat this terrifying attack by big tobacco, children and teenagers are being exposed to tobacco marketing. And with young people almost twice as likely as adults to recall tobacco advertising, it makes them that much more likely to smoke. The average age for a new smoker is 13 years old, and most of them will be addicted by the time they’re 18.
Tobacco companies place most of their advertising in stores where 75% OF TEENS shop at least once per week.
Philip Morris once said, “Today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential customer, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while still in their teens.” It’s clear that the tobacco companies have doubled down on their efforts to target kids. It’s time to take action to stop it. Tobacco Free NYS is a great resource for tobacco free initiatives, working to build a healthy, tobacco free future for us all to live in. Show you also want to stop the immoral targeting of children by tobacco advertisers by going to www.seenenoughtobacco.org and pledge your support for their cause.
The U.S. Tobacco Industry spent an estimated $9.5 BILLION on advertising and promotion of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in 2012.
It’s also important to take the necessary steps in your own home and community to stop the attacks. If you see tobacco ads in your family magazines, rip them out, and write to the editor or publisher asking them to remove the ads from future issues. Speak to store owners and ask them to remove any tobacco advertising within children’s views (three feet or below). If you see brightly packaged e-cigarettes, cigarillos, or even candy cigarettes, explain to the owner of the store how your kids are being affected and manipulated. These are your neighbors and friends. Educate your community about the deceitful tactics that are being used by the tobacco industry and ask them to take action. You also have to make sure you talk to your kids about tobacco, and try to engage them to become leaders and even activists in the fight against the tobacco industry. If they are empowered with this knowledge and feel they are part of the solution, they are less likely to fall susceptible to these practices. Start in your own home, and hopefully you can stop tobacco use before it starts. Again, start fighting big tobacco by pledging your support http://www.seenenoughtobacco.org/ and show that you are in favor of a tobacco free future. Don’t you think our kids have seen enough?