Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing to Youth

Smoking Habits Start Young and Die Hard

  • Almost 90% of adult smokers begin their habits at or before age 18, making kids an essential  market for tobacco advertisers.
  • Each year in Washington, 24,000 teenagers become new daily smokers.
  • Youth smoking is on the rise at all age levels. In Washington, 5% of 6th graders, 15% of 8th graders, 25% of 10th graders, and 29% of 12th graders smoke. There was a 38% increase from  1990 to 1998 in the total number of high school seniors who smoke statewide.
  • Smoking among black teens in the U.S. increased by 80% between 1991 and 1997.
  • While many youth are optimistic about quitting, studies have shown that ¾ of youth who try to quit  are unsuccessful.

The Tobacco Industry Aims to Hook Susceptible Youth Early

  • Bennett LeBow, owner of Liggett Tobacco, admits: “If you are really and truly not going to sell to  children, you are going to be out of business in 30 years.”
  • Almost 80% of American kids are exposed to persuasive tobacco marketing over 17 times every  year.
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