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  • Public Health

    Jefferson County Youth Stand Up to Tobacco Industry


    Jefferson County Youth Stand Up to Tobacco Industry

    Jefferson County, CO – Jefferson County Breathe Easy (BE) teams have kicked off a new educational campaign entitled “Sweet, Cheap and Deadly” to raise awareness about how the tobacco industry targets youth through retail-level promotions, discounted pricing, the use of flavors and novel products, including e-cigarettes to attract and addict young people. The campaign coincides with National Kick Butts Day on March 19, 2014, an annual day of activism empowering youth in local communities to “stand out, speak up, and seize control” against tobacco use and the targeting of youth by tobacco companies.

    The Sweet, Cheap and Deadly initiative involves observational scans to assess tobacco industry marketing tactics in local retail outlets as well as educational outreach in schools, counter marketing activities and opportunities to speak with local leaders about the problem of tobacco use and the targeting of youth with cheap and flavored products. The Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, Golden, Jefferson, and Alameda High School BE Teams hosted information tables to educate their peers during the week of February 10, 2014. A total of 453 Jefferson County students signed on to take a stand against the tobacco industry’s concerted efforts to entice youth. Interested teens are given opportunities to learn more, help themselves and others stay tobacco-free, and work toward community-level solutions to the problem of tobacco.

    Tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S and Colorado and according to the Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report for 2009 and 2010, tobacco companies spent over $8 billion dollars nationwide on advertising and promotional tactics in 2010 with the majority of those dollars being spent on price discounts.

    Tobacco industry activities have successfully counter-acted life-saving tobacco prevention policies and diminished the gains made in youth and young adult tobacco prevention over the last several decades. Industry marketing tactics, especially price discounting and adding flavorings, have had the most significant impact on low income youth populations of Colorado. The industry’s tactics in economically disadvantaged communities have been so effective that the greatest single predictor of tobacco use is low income status.

    This year’s Kick Butts Day comes on the heels of a report released this week by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids entitled “You’re the Target”, which exposes how Phillip Morris International’s (PMI) “Be Marlboro” marketing campaign is appealing to youth around the world. The report is calling on PMI to end the campaign and asking governments to take action by implementing comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

    BE Teams are youth clubs working on tobacco prevention efforts in their schools and communities. Supported by their high schools and Jefferson County Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention Initiative, BE Teams educate community members about the problem of tobacco and advocate for sustainable solutions, including policy change.

    •  To learn more about Kick Butts Day and to get ideas about encouraging youth to speak up, visit www.kickbuttsday.org.

    •  Explore helpful fact sheets from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids about the tobacco industry marketing to kids.

    •  For help with quitting:
       -  Colorado offers numerous resources to help you quit smoking or quit using other tobacco products.
           Visit www.tobaccofreeco.org to learn more or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
       -  Consider using a web-based cessation program such as www.coquitmobile.com
       -  You may also visit the Ready to Quit page on the Tobacco-Free Jeffco website for a list of additional resources to help you quit. 

    To get involved in local tobacco prevention efforts, visit www.tobaccofreejeffco.com, email tobaccofree@jeffco.us or call 303-275-7555.



    Nancy Braden
    Public Health Communications/PIO
    303-239-7137
    nbraden@jeffco.us

    March 14, 2014

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    Last Updated: 3-17-2014