Regulating Tobacco

By Robert L. Rabin; Stephen D. Sugarman | Go to book overview

6
Reducing the Supply of
Tobacco to Youths
Nancy A. Rigotti

Preventing tobacco use by young people emerged as a major, if not the major, theme of tobacco control public policy in the 1990s for several reasons. From the public health perspective, prevention is more appealing than treatment as a remedy for harmful exposure. Conceptually, the simplest way to stop the harm of tobacco use is to prevent it from starting in the first place. This inevitably leads to a focus on youths because nearly 90% of smokers in the United States smoke their first cigarette before the age of 18 (USDHHS 1994). A youth-focused approach also has great political appeal. Protecting children from harm is a popular theme in American culture and electoral politics (Cismoski 1994). Because minors are supposedly too young to make rational decisions for themselves, American political tradition opens up additional policy options for tobacco control and permits government to regulate minors' behavior in ways that would not be acceptable if applied to adults. A youth-focused approach is also difficult for the tobacco industry to oppose because it is politically unacceptable for tobacco manufacturers to admit that they market to youths or that they want youths to use their products, even though previously secret tobacco industry documents provide ample evidence that they have done so.

The youth-focused strategy was not without controversy in the tobacco control community. Glantz (1996) and others pointed out its potential pitfalls, arguing that the message that young people shouldn't smoke inadvertently casts smoking as an “adult behavior,” thereby transforming it into a “forbidden fruit” that would be even more appealing to young people seeking to rebel or appear more mature. The political downside was that a youth focus threatened to distract legislative and regulatory attention from clean

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Regulating Tobacco
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Contents vii
  • About the Contributors ix
  • Regulating Tobacco *
  • 1 - Perspectives on Policy: Introduction 3
  • 2 - The Politics of Tobacco Regulation in the United States 11
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 3 - Taxing Tobacco: The Impact of Tobacco Taxes on Cigarette Smoking and Other Tobacco Use 39
  • References *
  • 4 - Marketing Policies 72
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 5 - Reducing Harm to Smokers: Methods, Their Effectiveness, and the Role of Policy 111
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 6 - Reducing the Supply of Tobacco to Youths 143
  • References *
  • 7 - The Third Wave of Tobacco Tort Litigation 176
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 8 - Clean Indoor Air Restrictions: Progress and Promise 207
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 9 - International Aspects of Tobacco Control and the Proposed Who Treaty 245
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Index 285
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