Marketing of Tobacco to Children and Youth
To express opposition for the marketing of tobacco to children and youth, and to provide recommendations for school leaders to eliminate the use of tobacco on school grounds.
The United States Surgeon General reports that smoking remains the leading cause of death and disease in our nation. Every day, nearly 4,000 young people under the age of 18 try smoking for the first time, and an estimated 1,100 young people become daily cigarette smokers according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2006). Approximately 20% of all high school students and 8% of all middle level students are current smokers, and this number has remained unchanged since 2003 (Centers, 2008). Research conducted for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (2008b) found that children are three times more sensitive to tobacco advertising than adults and more likely to be influenced to smoke by cigarette marketing than they are by their peers. In addition, one-third of underage experimentation with tobacco products is attributable to marketing by tobacco companies.
In 1998, the attorneys general of the United States and the nation's largest tobacco companies agreed to a master settlement agreement prohibiting the use of certain types of advertisements and forbidding tobacco manufacturers from "directly or indirectly targeting youth in their promotional activities, or engaging in activities with the primary purpose of initiating, maintaining, or increasing youth smoking." However, annual tobacco marketing expenditures have increased by 94% since 1998, and tobacco companies spend nearly $19 on marketing for every $1 states spend to prevent youth from smoking. (Campaign, 2008a)
NASSP Guiding Principles
NASSP is uncompromising in its commitment to the intellectual growth, academic achievement, character and leadership development, and physical well-being of youth. The negative health implications of tobacco use are irrefutable. Sales and marketing of tobacco products to minors must remain illegal and relevant laws must be enforced.
Educators have a responsibility to teach students about the harmful effects of tobacco use and to model good behavior.
All schools should provide a smoke-free learning environment.
- Policymakers should grant the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of tobacco products.
- Policymakers should restrict all forms of tobacco advertising and promotions that result in increased use of tobacco products by minors in addition to bans on the sale and marketing of tobacco to youth.
- Policymakers should limit all advertising of tobacco products within 1,000 feet of schools.
- Principals should educate and mentor students about the dangers of tobacco and teach them how to resist social influences to smoke.
- Principals should prohibit smoking by anyone on school grounds.
- Principals should provide anti-smoking education to all middle level and high school students.
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. (2008a). A decade of broken promises: The 1998 state tobacco settlement ten years later. Retrieved from www.tobaccofreekids.org/reports/settlements/2009/fullreport.pdf
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. (2008b). Toll of tobacco in the United States of America. \[Fact sheet\]. Retrieved from www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0072.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2008). Cigarette use among high school students—United States, 1991-2007. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/mmwrs/2008/mm5725a3_highlights.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2006). Youth and tobacco use: Current estimates. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/youth_data/youth_tobacco.htm
Adopted May 5, 2001
Revised February 2009