As a mom of two young kids, one thing I am very concerned about is tobacco and cigarettes. They see them everywhere and my husband and I have been trying to teach them about how unhealthy they are. Yes, we even sometimes over exaggerate with words like “ew” and “gross” when we are near someone smoking, but it seems to be helping. I was very pleased to hear about the Seen Enough Tobacco Campaign that Tobacco Free New York has launched because kids really have seen enough.
Seen Enough Tobacco Campaign
Youth in this region have seen enough tobacco promotions. It’s time to protect them and put an end to youth smoking and other tobacco use. That’s the message Tobacco Free New York State is working hard to communicate to millions regionally and statewide with its “Seen Enough Tobacco” campaign.
With the goal of safeguarding children from the billions of dollars of hard-hitting tobacco promotions in places where they can see them, the campaign uses video, social media, digital advertising and a “Jack and Jill (and Tobacco)” storybook that describes children’s encounters with tobacco promotions in convenience stores. Provocative images creatively combine cigarettes with common children’s items, like crayons, a birthday cake and a crib mobile, in scenarios intended to grab the attention of community members and parents and prompt their outrage. Viewers can learn what they can do to protect children from tobacco promotions and join more than 15,000 others throughout the state by pledging their support at the campaign’s website www.SeenEnoughTobacco.org.
The average age of a new smoker is 13 years old, 1 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. “These promotions catch the attention of children and encourage them to use dangerous and addictive tobacco products. 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. It’s our responsibility as a community to protect our children from tobacco promotions and put an end to this pediatric epidemic.”
Additional findings on tobacco industry promotions and the effect of smoking on children and young adolescents indicate:
- The tobacco industry spends billions of dollars on promotions, in places where children can see them.
- More than 92 percent of high school students reported awareness of pro-tobacco marketing in 2014.5 This includes 85 percent awareness of advertising in the retail environment.
- The U.S. tobacco industry spent an estimated $9.5 billion on advertising and promotion of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in 2013.6 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. This is during an age range when growth is not complete and susceptibility to the damaging effects of tobacco smoke may be enhanced,” 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.
- 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.
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.
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- Monitoring the Future Study, http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/pubs/monographs/mtf-overview2014.pdf
- A Report of the Surgeon General “The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress” 2014, p. 12, 696, 708: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/50-years-of-progress/full-report.pdf
- A Report of the Surgeon General: Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults “Executive Summary” 2012, p. 1, 3: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/preventing-youth-tobacco-use/exec-summary.pdf
- Henriksen L, Feighery E C, Schleicher N C, Haladjian H H, Fortmann S P. Tobacco Control “Reaching youth at the point of sale: cigarette marketing is more prevalent in stores where adolescents shop frequently” Published online First: May 23, 2004 doi:10.1136/tc.2003.006577 http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/13/3/315.full
- New York Department of Health Bureau of Tobacco Control “Youth Exposure to Tobacco Marketing Remains High” 2016, https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/tobacco_control/reports/statshots/volume9/n2_youth_exposure_to_tobacco_marketing.pdf
- Federal Trade Commission “FTC Releases Reports on 2013 Cigarette and Smokeless Tobacco Sales and Marketing Expenditures” 2016, https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2016/03/ftc-releases-reports-2013-cigarette-smokeless-tobacco-sales
- Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/facts_issues/toll_us/new_york
- A Report of the Surgeon General: Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults “The Health Consequences of Tobacco Use Among Young People” 2012, p. 16, 22: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/preventing-youth-tobacco-use/sgr_2012%20chapt2.pdf