The tobacco industry targets youth.
Many people think the tobacco problem is solved. It’s not. The youth cigarette smoking rate continues to decrease in Massachusetts, but 4,700 young people still become cigarette smokers every year in our state. And young people’s use of other tobacco products has increased. In 2009, for the first time, high school students in Massachusetts used tobacco products other than cigarettes at a higher rate than they used cigarettes. [i]
The tobacco industry targets young people in Massachusetts by using three main tactics in its efforts to hook kids on tobacco products. The industry makes its products:
- Sweet: The tobacco industry uses flavoring to attract young people by disguising the taste of tobacco. These flavors include apple pie, strawberry banana, very vanilla, and watermelon. See examples here.
- Cheap: The tobacco industry prices these products cheaply to encourage impulse buys by adolescents. See examples of how cheap these products are.
- Easy to get: These cheap tobacco products are easily available to young people in gas stations, pharmacies, corner stores, grocery stores, mini-marts, and many other types of retail stores throughout Massachusetts. See what kids see when they walk into a store.
[i]. Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program. Youth Tobacco Use in Massachusetts: Survey Results from 1993 to 2011, January 2013.