Big Tobacco Still Targetting Kids

Parents – did you know that if you can encourage your children not to smoke you will be helping them to remain drug-free ?Research shows that only 2% of non-smokers use illegal drugs compared to 56% of smokers. Cigarette companies spend more than $11.2 billion annually on marketing in the United States, much of it that reaches and influences kids.The 1998 legal settlement between the states and the tobacco companies prohibited the tobacco companies from taking “any action, directly or indirectly, to target youth… in the advertising, promotion or marketing of tobacco products.” The settlement was supposed to restrict tobacco marketing. However, since the settlement, the tobacco companies have increased their marketing expenditures by 66 percent to a record $11.45 billion a year, or $31.4 million a day, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Much of this marketing is still targeted at kids.

One of the tobacco industry’s most outrageous new tactics is the introduction of candy-flavoured cigarettes and other sweet-flavoured tobacco products

R.J. Reynolds – the same company that once marketed cigarettes to kids with a cartoon character, Joe Camel – has launched a series of flavoured cigarettes, including a pineapple and coconut-flavored cigarette called “Kauai Kolada” and a citrus-flavored cigarette called “Twista Lime.”
Brown & Williamson has introduced flavoured versions of its Kool cigarettes with names like “Caribbean Chill,” “Midnight Berry,” “Mocha Taboo” and “Mintrigue.”
The U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company is marketing its products with flavours including berry blend, mint, wintergreen, apple blend, vanilla and cherry.
Brown & Williamson has also been promoting its Kool cigarettes with hip-hop music themes and images that have particular appeal to African-American youth.
There are several ongoing efforts to stop the tobacco companies from continuing to target our children. Several state attorneys general have sued tobacco companies for violating the state settlement’s prohibition on targeting kids. In addition, the federal government is pursuing a lawsuit against the tobacco companies that, among other things, seeks to stop tobacco marketing to kids, and Congress is considering legislation to grant the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco products, including the authority to ban flavoured cigarettes and crack down on other forms of tobacco marketing and sales to kids. 17.09.04)

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