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Cigarette Smoking (cont.)

Cigarette Smoking Prevention

Prevention can be easy; simply do not start to smoke cigarettes or use any other tobacco products. Unfortunately, quitting is often very difficult. Most smokers begin to smoke as teenagers. Every day, about 3,000 American youths start smoking and nicotine in smoke is addicting for many people. Efforts at the federal, state, and local levels to enact and enforce laws barring sales (of cigarettes) to minors need to be encouraged and enforced to minimize this addictive and potentially destructive habit.

Parents still have the biggest impact on their children's decision whether to smoke. The best way to prevent a youngster from taking up smoking is to have parents who don't smoke. Children from smoking households are more likely to begin smoking than children from nonsmoking households.

  • Much attention has been focused in recent years on the influence of tobacco company advertising on encouraging young people to smoke.
  • Although cigarette commercials have been banned from television for over 30 years, tobacco products remain among the most heavily marketed products. According to the American Lung Association, the tobacco industry spent an estimated $12.49 billion on advertising in 2006. Some states place restrictions on the type and locations of tobacco advertising, and legislation enacted in 2009 gave the U.S. FDA strong authority to regulate tobacco products. The FDA has recently published the following: "Beginning September 2012, FDA will require larger, more prominent cigarette health warnings on all cigarette packaging and advertisements in the United States." This is the first major change in FDA approved cigarette warnings in about 25 years.
    • Studies have shown that youth are particularly susceptible to tobacco marketing campaigns.
    • In the past, cigarette use by actors in popular films was a means to portray smoking as sophisticated and glamorous.
    • Although denied by tobacco companies, the use of cartoon animals and the like in advertising campaigns appeals to youngsters.
    • Counter-advertising by various antismoking advocacy groups may provide some balance, but their advertising budgets pale beside those of tobacco companies.
    • Schools generally provide education on the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances, but their impact is unclear.
    • Increasing the taxes on cigarettes, and hence their price, has been shown to reduce tobacco consumption, especially among adolescents.

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