Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Smokers — the cigarette industry wants them bad!
The Surgeon General today released a new report on youth smoking. The 2012 Report, entitled Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, updates the 1994 Report, which was the first comprehensive Surgeon General’s report on youth smoking. In ‘94, the Surgeon General concluded that if young people can remain free of tobacco until age 18, most will never start to smoke, which has proven not to be that far off – in 2012, 80% of high school smokers will continue smoking into adulthood.
Some other troubling information contained in report:
- Each day in the U.S., over 3,800 kids under the age 18 start smoking
- Each day in the U.S., over 1,000 kids become daily cigarette smokers
- 88% of daily, adult smokers had their first cigarette by age 18.
- The vast majority of Americans who begin daily smoking during adolescence are addicted to nicotine by young adulthood
- Of every 3 young smokers, only one will manage to quit smoking, and one will die from a cigarette-related disease
- Given their developmental stage, adolescents are uniquely susceptible to social and environmental influences to use tobacco
- The tobacco companies spent nearly $10 billion in 2008 on advertising and promotional efforts; 277% more than the industry spent in 1998
Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, responsible for over 440,000 deaths per year (or 20% of all annual deaths).
It is clear that cigarette smoking and the destruction it causes is an epidemic. And from the information published today by the Surgeon General of the Public Health sector, it will continue to be just that unless and until we can protect the young and most impressionable among us.
Since cigarette mass marketing and advertising began in 1913 with the introduction of Camel cigarettes, cigarette makers have targeted the youth. Countless confidential, internal company documents bear this out and there is no indication that tobacco companies have discontinued trying to appeal to our nation’s youth.
Today, cigarette makers are sure to point to the company websites they have up and running, restrictions imposed by the Master Settlement Agreement regarding marketing to youth, and FDA regulation. While that might sound good on paper, the Surgeon General’s conclusions indicate that the industries $10 billion a year advertising campaign is getting through to their most important demographic – the children of our country.