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Catching kids with catchy packaging

Editor’s note: Douglas County Public Health is working with a group of seniors at Jefferson High School about tobacco advertising and smoking prevention efforts. A student wrote the following letter about the issue.

To the editor:

While learning about the tobacco industry, I learned how big tobacco markets to kids and young teenagers by selling cigars and cigarettes to appeal to a young person’s eye.

Many brands make packaging very colorful and use catchy slogans to get kids to buy their products. Many gas stations and smoke shops display these products at eye level for young people to see.

It is a proven fact that 90 percent of adult smokers started when they were children. Kids are drawn to smoking and using tobacco for a number of reasons: to look cool, to lose weight, or even feel more mature than they actually are.

Each day, more than 3,600 people younger than 18 smoke their first cigarette, and more than 900 begin smoking on a daily basis.

I think the tobacco industry needs to wake up and realize that it is unacceptable to be marketing to people who aren’t even a legal age to purchase these products.

Teenagers and children are nothing but a dollar sign to companies. The more young people they get to start using their products regularly, the more money they are making. Tobacco companies need to re-evaluate their morals, realize that this is a problem, and they need to fix it.