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Tobacco FAQ About Kids

What's a FAQ, you ask? Easy. FAQ is an acronym for Frequently Asked Questions. "What's an acronym?" That's an easy one too. An acronym is a word made from the first letters of a series of words. In any case, if you've got a question, we've probably already answered it. Check below for the answers to what's blocking your brain. FAQ Cartoon

How many kids and teenagers smoke?

More than one million kids will start smoking this year. One-third of them will die from their addiction.

Lots of adults smoke and cigarettes aren't as dangerous as drugs, so what's the big deal if teenagers are smoking occasionally?

About 90% of all new smokers are age 18 and younger. That's because the tobacco industry markets to young people because they know that very few adults will start smoking. Once a kid or teenager starts smoking, it's likely that they'll become addicted without realizing it and then it's too late -- the tobacco companies have a customer for life.

Advertising is legal and cigarettes are legal, so why does everyone want tobacco advertising restricted?

A National Cancer Institute study found that teens are twice as likely to be influenced by cigarette advertising than by peer pressure. The study showed, in fact, that this advertising causes kids to start smoking! Eighty-six percent of children who smoke prefer Marlboro, Camel and Newport, the three most heavily advertised brands. After the Joe Camel cartoon was introduced, Camel's market share among underage smokers jumped from 0.5 percent to 32.8 percent.

Kids and teenagers have always smoked and they always will, so why worry about it?

A University of Michigan study released last year showed smoking among teens has increased to the highest level in 16 years. The Centers for Disease Control reports that between 1991 and 1995, the proportion of high-school students who smoked increased from one-quarter to one-third. Today, nearly 40% of white high-school females smoke and 44% of white high-school males use tobacco (cigarettes and spit tobacco). Smoking is now increasing among young black males, with rates doubling between 1991 and 1995, going from 14.1 percent to 27.8 percent.

There's a lot of worse things that teenagers can do than smoke. Aren't there other things young people should worry about before smoking?

Cigarettes kill more Americans than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, murders, suicides, drugs and fires -- combined! That doesn't mean that these other killers should be ignored, but we ought to remember that cigarettes are deadly and addictive. If you know someone addicted to alcohol, learn about alcohol rehab.

Lots of my friends smoke, but they can stop whenever they want to -- it's not like they're addicted.

46 million adults in this country smoke and most of them want to quit. The fact is, nearly all adult smokers began smoking as children. The average smoker begins at age 13 and becomes a daily smoker by age 14-1/2. The problem is many kids and teenagers are addicted and they don't even know it.

How much does the tobacco industry spend on advertising?

The cigarette companies spend $6 billion annually on advertising and marketing campaigns to addict a new generation of customers. That's $16 million every day.

Do American adults really want the FDA to regulate tobacco?

86% of Americans want their member of Congress to support the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's proposal to decrease smoking in children. 54% of American voters would be less likely to vote for their member of Congress if they learned that he or she accepted campaign contributions from the tobacco companies.


August, 2006
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