You might think that just because your children are still young, you don’t have to worry about smoking or tobacco. But kids are being exposed to tobacco promotion all the time. That’s the message that Tobacco Free New York State is working hard to communicate with its “Seen Enough Tobacco” campaign.
Did you know that…
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. 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.
The average age of a new smoker is 13 years old. “An earlier age of onset of smoking marks the beginning of exposure to the many harmful components of smoking,” according to the U.S. Surgeon General. “This is during an age range when growth is not complete and susceptibility to the damaging effects of tobacco smoke may be enhanced.” 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.
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.
“Tobacco industry marketing has appealed to youth for decades, with billions of dollars spent on bright, bold, strategically placed promotions,” says 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.”
Our kids should grow up without tobacco in their faces, and the campaign urges you to sign this pledge if you agree.