Thursday is World No Tobacco Day, and this year’s theme is “Stop Tobacco Industry Interference.” The World Health Organization selected this theme because the tobacco industry continues to undermine tobacco prevention and control by developing and marketing products that appeal to youths to make sure that it has two youths, or young adult “replacement” smokers, for the 1,200 smokers who die each day in our country.
Throughout the past 15 months, the N-CTRL Coalition actively has been raising awareness about tobacco, including how the tobacco industry markets its deadly products to youths. Educating about the health consequences from tobacco is just not enough to prevent youths from starting to use tobacco. But adding information about the tobacco industry’s manipulation of youths really gets their attention. The next time you go into a store that sells tobacco, check out the packaging — colors and shapes similar to safe, familiar, non-tobacco products — and the flavors. It is very apparent who the tobacco industry is targeting with its marketing.
N-CTRL Coalition members, including teens, have provided tobacco education to more than 500 school-age students in Routt County this year, and the response from youths when they learn about tobacco marketing is incredible. Many kids are angered by the tobacco industry’s manipulation. Our goal is to arm youths and young adults with the knowledge that they need to resist the glamorous, cool and safe marketing tactics that the tobacco industry employs.
Through education and the message, “Never start using tobacco and you’ll never have to quit,” the coalition hopes to prevent our youths from the deadly deception that the tobacco industry has created. Preventing youth tobacco initiation can lead to a tobacco-free world.
For more information about N-CTRL and tobacco prevention efforts or to get involved, call me at 970-875-1883.
Community educator, Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association