Tobacco companies aim advertising dollars at college students
In 2005, the tobacco industry spent more than $1 million a day sponsoring events and giveaways targeting college students.
“Tobacco companies heavily target young adults ages 18 to 21 through a variety of marketing activities—such as music and sporting events, bar promotions, college marketing programs, college scholarships, and parties—because they know it is a critical time period for solidifying a tobacco addiction,” according to Action on Smoking & Health (ASH).
ASH says that young people are particularly susceptible to tobacco advertising. Among teenagers, those who reported having a favorite tobacco ad, having received a tobacco promotional item, or who were willing to use a tobacco promotional item initiated smoking at a younger age.
Among the statistics released by the group:
- National data show that 95% of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21
- Many people start to smoke in college. Almost 40% of smokers either began smoking (11.0%) or became regular smokers (28.0%) after starting college.
One RJ Reynolds researcher stated: “If a man has never smoked by age 18, the odds are three-to-one he never will. By age 21, the odds are twenty-to-one.”