Peddling Poison: The Tobacco Industry and Kids

Peddling Poison: The Tobacco Industry and Kids

Peddling Poison: The Tobacco Industry and Kids

Peddling Poison: The Tobacco Industry and Kids

Synopsis

"As the result of the Master Settlement with the tobacco industry, many states have developed comprehensive programs that have resulted in a substantial decline in youth tobacco use. While national efforts at tobacco regulation have largely failed, local tobacco control efforts have mostly been successful. Snell shows that the future of youth tobacco policy depends on the continued funding of tobacco prevention programs at the state and local level and illustrates that there is considerable evidence that the tobacco industry is shifting its marketing approach to minority populations and developing nations." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The field of criminal justice has a long history of examining adolescent drug use as a social problem. Because of the social acceptance of cigarette smoking, tobacco is rarely considered a dangerous drug. In the opinion of many, tobacco is not considered a drug at all. However, not only does tobacco kill more people per year than all illegal drugs combined, it kills more people per year than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, murders, suicides, and illegal drugs combined. The social acceptance of tobacco use in this country obscures the fact that it is the single greatest preventable cause of death in the United States. Additionally, almost 90% of those who use tobacco products started the habit before adulthood. Despite all we know about the dangers of smoking, this assembly line of addiction continues largely unabated. Approximately 750,000 kids become new, regular smokers each year. These children consume approximately 900 million packs of cigarettes each year; almost one-third will ultimately die from smoking.

Criminal justice as a discipline also has a history of examining issues of social justice and corporate misbehavior. The United States tobacco industry's decades of deception are likely the greatest example of corporate wrongdoing in the nation's history. In fact, the United States Justice Department is currently pursuing criminal charges against several cigarette companies. Tobacco industry documents reveal the following facts: (1) tobacco manufacturers were aware of the health hazards due to smoking from at least the 1960s and deliberately hid this knowledge from the public; (2) big tobacco manipulated their products to make cigarettes more addictive; and (3) the industry purposely marketed their products to children. Children have been the greatest source of replacement smokers for the thousands that quit or die each year. The full story of the industry's deception is yet to be revealed as thousands of pages of industry documents have yet to be examined.

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