The tobacco industry has a history of targeting vulnerable populations to get them addicted to their products. Check out what strategies the industry is using to target the youth in our community.
Sweet, Cheap & Deadly
Did you know that nearly 90% of those who use tobacco started before the age of 18? This is a well-known fact by the tobacco industry, and tobacco companies are constantly devising new plans to get teens to try tobacco. The latest trend: tobacco products that look and taste like candy. Candy and fruit flavors disguise the harsh taste of tobacco, making it easier for kids to use them. But the reality is, flavored tobacco products are just as dangerous and addictive as regular cigarettes and smokeless products, because they all contain nicotine.
Youth are targeted by the industry in retail establishments through aggressive marketing tactics. The industry spends 90% of its advertising budget on point of sale displays. Displays are at a kid’s eye level and are bright and colorful, similar to candy displays. When youth see these displays they believe tobacco use is normal and acceptable, and when the majority of Colorado kids report that it is easy to get tobacco products, it makes starting and using tobacco easy for youth1.
58% of Colorado youth report that it is easy to access tobacco products1. Colorado kids are able to purchase these products in stores and online and can often receive them from older friends and family members. Selling tobacco products to kids under the age of 18 is illegal in the state of Colorado. But, in Colorado you do not have to have a license to sell tobacco products. Tobacco is the only age restricted product in Colorado that you do not have to have a license to sell, making enforcement of illegal sales more difficult.
12015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment