Flavors are a marketing weapon the tobacco manufacturers use to target youth and young people to a lifetime of addiction. The use of any flavored tobacco product among youth is concerning because it exposes them to a lifetime of nicotine addiction, disease, and premature death.
Preventing Millions of Lives Lost to Tobacco Use
Making the Next Generation Tobacco-Free
January 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the landmark Surgeon General’s Report linking smoking to lung cancer. This year’s report, The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Year of Progress, a Report of the Surgeon General, highlights the toxicity of and toll tobacco has taken, the potential for continued lives lost and calls for forceful and sustained action in tobacco control and prevention. Since 1964, tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke prematurely claimed the lives of more than 20 million Americans. Tobacco use is responsible for 480,000 premature deaths each year and almost $300 billion in health care costs and lost productively. Additionally, tobacco use is a pediatric epidemic with almost 90 percent of adult smokers starting as kids. The report concludes that without action, 5.6 million youth under the age of 18 today will die prematurely from tobacco use.
The report recommends evidence-based tobacco control strategies including raising the retail price of tobacco products, smoke-free air policies, high-impact media campaigns, full access to cessation treatments, fully funding of comprehensive statewide tobacco control programs, reducing the nicotine content in tobacco products to make them less addictive, and greater restrictions on the sale of tobacco products.
Without forceful and sustained action, 5.6 million youth are projected to die prematurely from a tobacco-related illness.
State Specific Projected Youth Smokers and Premature Deaths from Tobacco Use
These estimates represent the number of youth aged 0 to 17 currently alive today that will eventually die prematurely from a tobacco-related illness if smoking rates remain the same as they are today. For example, of the 73.7 million youth alive today, 17.3 million will become smokers in their lifetime and 5.6 million of those youth will die prematurely because of their tobacco use.
|State||Population Under 18 Years Old||Projected Number of Youth Smokers||Projected Number of Deaths|
|District of Columbia||109,480||22,300||7,000|
*The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention developed these projects by using the current smoking rate for 18-30 year olds to calculate the anticipated number of smokers in the 0-17 year old birth cohort, current population data, and a probably of smoking-attributed mortality of 32 percent. See Table 12.2.1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Year of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office of Smoking and Health, 2014.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network supports a comprehensive approach to addressing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke in the United States. Our advocacy strategy includes:
- Increasing the price of all tobacco products through tobacco tax increases
- Implementing comprehensive smoke-free policies in communities
- Fully funding and sustaining evidence-based, statewide tobacco prevention and cessation programs, including ensuring access to clinical cessation services
- Working with the Food and Drug Administration to effectively implement the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act to comprehensively regulate tobacco products and marketing
ACS CAN works in partnership with federal, state and local policymakers across the country to ensure that tobacco use is addressed comprehensively in each community.