With Thanksgiving around the corner, here are some things Counter Tobacco is NOT so thankful for:
Not-so-thankful tobacco truth #1: On Friday, April 2, 1993, later known as “Marlboro Friday” to the public health community, Philip Morris slashed prices on their leading cigarette brand, Marlboro, in light of their declining cigarette sales.
Marlboro not only increased their market share, but following Marlboro Friday, youth smoking rates increased exponentially. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that from 1993 to 1997, the percentage of youth that had smoked at least one cigarette in the previous month had increased by nearly 20%.
Not-so-thankful tobacco truth #2: Tobacco documents reveal that tobacco companies seek to attract younger smokers by targeting convenience stores, grocery stores and other tobacco vendors near schools and playgrounds.
A study of retail outlets in California found that about 85% of retailers had tobacco ads within four feet of the counter, nearly 50% of tobacco retailers had tobacco ads at young kids’ eye level (three feet or lower), and 23% had cigarette product displays within 6″ of candy.
Not-so-thankful tobacco truth #3: Tobacco point of sale (POS) advertising not only affects youth smoking initiation rates, but also prompts adults to make unplanned tobacco product purchases, reveals a recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins. Young adults (18 to 24 yrs old) and smokers who had made multiple attempts to quit were found to be the most susceptible to initiate unplanned purchases prompted by POS advertising.
Not-so-thankful tobacco truth #4: The 2012 US Surgeon General report, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, indicates that about 3 million high school students and 624,000 middle school students smoke. 1 of 4 high school seniors is a regular cigarette smoker. Among those youth that continue to smoke, about 50% will die earlier than their non-smoking counterparts, losing on average 13 years of life.
Not-so-thankful tobacco truth #5: Large tobacco advertisements in the same area as where kiddie rides are located!
Not-so-thankful tobacco truth #6: Newer tobacco products like Snus, Orbs, Strips and Sticks are looking increasingly similar to candy. Can you tell the difference?