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Facts About the Problem

Big Tobacco1 is after teenagers. They got caught calling youth, “replacement smokers” and admitting that “the base of our business is the high school student2.” We know that tobacco companies target youth (and even younger children) through both obvious and more subtle tactics.

How do they target youth?

  • Big Tobacco creates cheaper products or special promotions that make it easy for youth to afford.
  • Big Tobacco manufactures candy-flavored tobacco products in colorful packaging that are sometimes placed next to candy.
  • Big Tobacco spends millions of dollars3 to put ads inside and outside corner stores. That’s where youth go every week or every day!
  • Large ads and signs are placed outside stores near schools and playgrounds.
  • Tobacco ads are placed at a child’s eye level inside and outside stores.
  • Big Tobacco spends millions getting actors to smoke in movies that young people watch.
  • Big Tobacco spends big bucks on ads in magazines youth read.

How much do they spend?

  • Big Tobacco spends almost $123.6 million each year4 to market their deadly products to people in MA! That’s for things like ads in magazines, sponsoring events, free giveaways, and signs in your corner stores.
  • For the U.S. overall, they spend $9.1 billion a year!5

Think of all the good we could do in the world with that kind of money!!

So, what happens to youth?

  • 2,800 youth in MA become daily smokers each year.6
  • Youth in MA smoke almost 15 million packs of cigarettes a year.
  • Over 90% of adult smokers started before they were 18.7
  • 103,000 young people alive today in MA will die early from tobacco-related illnesses.6

Download the fact sheets:

Facts about Other Tobacco Products

Facts about Tobacco Companies and Youth

Stats on the Harms of Tobacco



1. “Big Tobacco” refers to the multi-billion dollar tobacco industry, particularly the largest tobacco companies such as Philip Morris (parent company Altria), R.J. Reynolds, and Lorillard.
2. See The 84’s “Fact sheet: Real Quotes from Tobacco Companies.”
3. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Tobacco Marketing that Reaches Kids: Point-of-purchase Advertising and Promotions”. July 27, 2010
4. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “State-specific Tobacco Company Marking Expenditures 1998-2014″. November 28, 2014.
5. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Trend in Tobacco Industry Marketing”. November 28, 2016.
6. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Key State-Specific Tobacco-Related Data and Rankings”. June 20, 2017.
7. SAMHSA, HHS, Calculated based on data in 2007 National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health,