Marketing to Youth
Children are the most impressionable members of society, and they are twice as sensitive to tobacco marketing as adults. Tobacco ads suggest that smoking can fulfill powerful psychological needs like popularity, peer acceptance and a positive self-image. The industry knows that kids are too young to understand the consequences of smoking and addiction.
For decades, tobacco companies have aggressively promoted their products using tactics that appeal to children. Here are just a few of their dirty tricks:
- Sponsoring up-and-coming artists that appeal to younger people
- Offering free music downloads and pop-up concerts in convenience stores
- Using popular social media hashtags to be part of social conversations
- Making products that look and taste like candy
- Placing ads and products in stores at the direct eye level of children
- Placing products in movies and video games.
It’s all part of their strategy to recruit the next generation of addicts. Today, four out of five youth smokers will become adult smokers, even if they intend to quit in a few years.
Thanks to tobacco marketing, a busload of Oklahoma kids becomes addicted to tobacco each week. For every adult who dies early of smoking, two new underage smokers become hooked. If current trends persist, one of those two underage smokers will also die early from smoking.