Comprehensive Action Needed to Stop Tobacco Industry From Targeting Youth with Flavors, Advertisements

December 5, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Nearly 70% of middle and high school students who currently use tobacco report the use of flavored products, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today. Additionally, nine out of every 10 students surveyed report exposure to tobacco industry advertisements and promotions.

As part of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC released the results of the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey and included an in-depth analysis of the data. It found approximately one-quarter of youth are current tobacco product users. In its analysis, the CDC concludes that sustained and comprehensive implementation of evidence-based prevention and cessation strategies, paired with the regulation of all tobacco products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can reduce all forms of tobacco product use among youth.

Following is a statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN):  

“With nearly 70% of youth tobacco users noting their use of flavored products, and nearly 23 million middle and high school students being exposed to tobacco advertisements, it’s clear the tobacco industry is still actively working to addict a new generation of Americans to its deadly products and decisive action is needed.

“The disturbing figures released today once again highlight the tobacco industry’s tactics that have led to the current youth epidemic of addictive tobacco products. Policymakers at all levels of government need to act immediately. The FDA, Congress, and state and local lawmakers have the authority to clear the marketplace of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, which clearly appeal to youth.

“In addition to acting on flavors, the CDC’s analysis notes that evidence-based tobacco control strategies, coupled with strong surveillance of all tobacco products are critical to preventing and reducing tobacco product use among youth.  The FDA must exert the full extent of its regulatory authority over all tobacco products while also cracking down on the advertising practices of the profit-driven tobacco industry. The agency should also prioritize additional interventions such as the reduction of nicotine levels in all tobacco products. The time for comprehensive action is long overdue.”


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Mike VanDenHeuvel
Senior Manager, Media Advocacy
Washington, D.C.