Results of the report published recently by the U.S. Centers for Diseased Control (CDC), came as more than 150 youth from across Indiana met in Indianapolis at an anti-tobacco conference known as Project VOICE.
Two youths from Clay County attended Project VOICE, Zach Boggs and Nick Johnson.
"Tobacco industry is targeting my generation to increase its business and hook us into using their deadly products," Boggs said.
According to the report, the three most heavily advertised brands -- Marlboro, Newport and Camel -- were preferred by 81 percent of youths ages 12-17. As a basis for the report, the CDC analyzed data from the 2004 and 2006 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS). The survey is conducted every two years with students in grades sixth through 12.
A topic of particular outrage, according to the youths, is the "self-reporting" by teens (surveyed in the report) of the influence that is being gained by the tobacco companies' promotional strategies.
In the report, it was indicated that tobacco companies, through tactics such as "point-of-sale distribution, sampling and entertainment sponsorships" are marketing to teens.
A major focus of the Project VOICE conference is centered on discussion and activities related to the prevalence of smoking in major motion pictures, especially in films rated G, PG and PG-13.
According to a report on the Smoke Free Movies Web site (www.smokefreemoviews.ucsf.edu), from 1990-2007, at least 170 major U.S. motion pictures either displayed or mentioned tobacco brands. In two-thirds of these films, the brands belonged to Philip Morris (maker of Marlboro). Brand appearances in movies are especially valuable to tobacco companies eager to attract new smokers to "starter" brands such as Marlboro and Camel.
Most youth exposure to on-screen smoking occurs in youth-rated films, particularly PG-13. In 2008, PG-13 films delivered 65 percent of all tobacco impressions (11.7 billion of the 18.1 billion impressions), G and PG films delivered another 1 percent (200 million impressions). For his part, Boggs says it's time for things to change as it involves the manipulation of youth by "Big Tobacco."
"In Indiana, the tobacco industry spends $425 million a year in marketing its products," Director of the Clay County Tobacco Coalition Kandace Brown said. "We're tired of them taking, you might say, dead aim at our youth."