Tobacco Companies are Targeting Americas Youth

February 20, 2014

Mr. Morrison

            Smoking cigarettes kills 400,000 people each year.  This may be a staggering number, but it is important to remember that a single cigarette contains over 400 toxins.  Fewer teens smoke today than any time since the 1990s.  However, teen smoking is still a serious issue that students face.  Almost all teens plan to quit within five years of starting their habit.  However, it is estimated that as many as 60 percent of those teens are still smoking ten years later.  Most of the American population would like to see all teens steer clear of cigarettes.  Unfortunately, there is a group that would love to see smoking rates among teens increase - the tobacco companies.  The more cigarettes that a company sells, the more profit is made by that company.  The teenage group is a significant part of the market when it comes to tobacco sales. 

Since the early 1900s tobacco companies have targeted teens with their products in a variety of ways.  In the early 1900s, some cigarette packs included collectible baseball cards.  By the 1940s and '50s, advertisements featured actors and actresses, baseball stars, and Santa Claus!  In 1964, the U.S. government released some results of the effects of smoking after a major study was conducted.  Tobacco companies fought back and found new ways to target young people.  Joe Camel came to life and was depicted as a suave cartoon camel that was smoking in the advertisements.  Candy cigarettes were also created in hopes of getting the attention of young people.  In 1997, Joe Camel was removed after it was determined that the company was targeting teens.  In 1999, the same fate fell upon candy cigarettes. 

The bottom line is that tobacco companies are always looking to increase their profits by hooking teens on cigarettes.  Hopefully, with increased education and awareness of the dangers of smoking, teens will make the right choice and stay away from tobacco products.