Tobacco Targets Youth
The tobacco industry has a long history of targeting youth. Despite gains made in tobacco prevention in years past, tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the United States,1 and far too many youth are still being deceived by the industry’s marketing tactics and picking up the deadly habit. “Tobacco Targets Youth” is an educational campaign to raise awareness and educate Jefferson County residents about how youth are being targeted by the tobacco industry and how easy it still is for youth to access and use tobacco products.
Tobacco Use and Trends Among High School Students in Colorado, 2015 2
|Ever smoked a whole cigarette||20%|
|Current cigarette use||8.6%|
|Current e-cigarette use||26%|
|Current smokeless tobacco use||4.9%|
|Current cigar/little cigar use||8.9%|
|Tried to quit in the past year
(among current smokers)
|Easy or very easy to get cigarettes
(only among those 17 years old and younger)
|Attempted to purchase cigarettes and were able to buy (only among those 17 years old and younger)||67%|
Effective Strategies to Reduce Youth Access to Tobacco:
- In all but nine Colorado communities, tobacco retailers are not required to have a tobacco license, unlike the license required to sell alcohol. This means that tobacco can be sold by anyone anywhere in most Colorado communities. The Tobacco Control Legal Consortium states that policies to increase and enforce restrictions on illegal sales to minors, such as licensing of tobacco retailers, are essential in preventing youth from using tobacco.11
- Licensing tobacco retailers is proven approach that helps prevent illegal sales of tobacco to minors and reduces youth access and use of tobacco.
- Tobacco retail licensing laws help identify where tobacco products are being sold in a community, similar to licensing laws that apply to alcohol and marijuana retailers.
- Tobacco retail licensing serves as a means to better enforce all current tobacco-related laws, including state and federal, and to increase certain youth-specific protections such as prohibiting self-service displays, increasing clerk age to sell tobacco and limiting the number of tobacco retailers located near schools. Communities can even choose to include certain drug paraphernalia, such as pipes and rolling papers, to be covered by a tobacco retail licensing law.
- View this fact sheet and infographic about tobacco retail licensing.
- Learn more about licensing from the Public Health Law Center, ChangeLab Solutions and The Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing.
- There is also no minimum age limit for those who sell tobacco in Colorado. A 2001 study indicated that sales clerks under the age of 18 are more likely than clerks 18 or older to sell tobacco to minors.12
- View this infographic to learn more about how raising the minimum legal sale age of tobacco to 21 can decrease tobacco initiation and addiction.
- Additionally, smoke-free laws have been proven as an effective strategy to reduce youth smoking.13
Here are some ways YOU can help protect Jeffco youth from tobacco:
2. Healthy Kids Colorado Survey 2015
3 U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Cigarette Report for 2014/Smokeless Tobacco Report 2014
11. McLaughlin I. License to Kill?: Tobacco Retailer Licensing as an Effective Enforcement Tool. Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, 2010.
12. DiFranza JR, Colman M., “Sources of Tobacco for Youths in Communities with Strong Enforcement of Youth Access Laws,” Tobacco Control, 10:323-3328, 2001.