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Press Room

Tobacco Industry Marketing is Deadly Products to Children

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

(New York, USA) – World Lung Foundation today welcomed the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, which shines a much-needed light on the epidemic of youth smoking in the United States and the marketing efforts of the tobacco industry to hook a new generation of victims. The report, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, finds that more than 600,000 middle school students and 3 million high school students smoke.

World Lung Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Peter Baldini commented on the report:

“Today’s report provides definitive evidence that the United States is in the middle of an epidemic of youth tobacco use. The tobacco industry continues targeted marketing toward a new generation of kids, knowing that younger smokers get addicted and become lifetime customers. For kids smoking now, a lifetime of health problems awaits, including significantly increased risks for cancers, respiratory illnesses and circulatory diseases.

We call on the Obama administration and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to continue their leadership in regulating tobacco. Despite aggressive lobbying and litigation from the tobacco industry, important measures such as increased taxes have been passed. State governments should go further, however, by increasing local taxes, implementing smoke-free policies and airing aggressive counter-marketing campaigns that inform kids about the harms of tobacco use. We need to reverse decades of misinformation and billions of dollars spent to portray a deadly product as cool, fresh and even healthy.”

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of mortality in the world today, and is responsible for more than five million deaths each year—one in ten preventable deaths worldwide. WLF supports World Health Organization’s M-P-O-W-E-R (W=Warn) strategies to reduce tobacco consumption. MPOWER strategies are endorsed and promoted by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, of which World Lung Foundation is a principal partner.