Youth and Young Adults

In this Section:

You have the power to end tobacco use in the United States. If we work together to combat the “cool” marketing of tobacco companies, we can help children and youth BE THE ONE to end it! Let’s work together to empower children, youth, and young adults to BE THE FIRST TOBACCO FREE GENERATION!

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Why is TFW focusing efforts on children, youth, and young adults?

Each day 2,800 kids take their first puff.  Nine out of 10 daily smokers try their first cigarette before the age of 18 and become addicted during adolescence, with 99 percent of first use by 26 years of age. The peak years for first trying to smoke appear to be in the sixth and seventh grades (or between the ages of 11 and 13). In Kansas 2,900 kids become new smokers each year. Overall, roughly one-third of all kids who become regular smokers before adulthood will eventually die from smoking, which means 61,000 Kansas kids alive today will die from tobacco-related causes.

It has been fifty years since the first Surgeon General’s report? Why are children, youth, and young adults still using tobacco?

Studies have indicated that the younger the age of initiation, the greater the risk for developing nicotine dependence. People in adolescence and young adulthood are highly susceptible to initiating tobacco use because they are more willing to take risks, are more influenced by social pressures, and are highly susceptible to advertising. This makes them targets of the tobacco industry in the attempt to create the next generation of tobacco consumers. Tobacco companies spend more than $1 million dollars an hour to market their products. Tobacco product advertising, including depictions of smoking in movies and promotions, entice many young people to start using tobacco.

Who has the highest risk to become a smoker?

Young people who come from low-income families or families with less education are more likely to smoke. Young people are also more likely to smoke when they have less success and involvement in school and fewer skills to resist the pervasive pressures to use tobacco. Initiation rates during adolescence are higher in whites and Hispanics with a similar age of initiation. Blacks begin regularly smoking primarily after the age of 18. (National Cancer Institute)

What about  flavored cigarettes and other tobacco products?

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Research suggests that menthol cigarettes and flavored cigarillos help adolescents and young adults begin smoking.