In 2008, Big Tobacco spent $9.94 billion to market cigarettes, and sadly, that amount corresponds to ‘new customers’ despite public health efforts to stop the destruction caused by tobacco. Part of the harm is caused by hidden substances within tobacco products which are not labeled, including radiation, and marketing designed to appeal to young people. Dr. Cheryl G. Healton, President and CEO of Legacy, comments in her article ‘U.S. Surgeon General: Young Adults are “Prime Targets” for Tobacco Advertising and Marketing’ that,
Many of the industry-produced ads and promotional activities target the psychological needs of adolescents, such as popularity, peer acceptance and positive self-image. Tobacco marketing campaigns create the perception that smoking will satisfy these needs or that smoking is the social norm, while price promotions continue to attract a young market. While the tobacco industry is gaining new young smokers, the reality is that one-third of them will eventually die from tobacco-related diseases. In the U.S., 1,200 Americans die each day from tobacco-related diseases.
Surgeon General Regina Benjamin issued the 31st tobacco-related report in which facts about tobacco use and ways proven to prevent it are fully described. You can find the full report here.
Churches can help prevent tobacco use. Partners in Health and Wholeness offers free resources and can help identify health organizations that are working against tobacco use in your area. By declaring the inside of your church buildings tobacco-free, you can begin the process of becoming a PHW-certified congregation, earning state-wide acknowledgement among other benefits. You can find out more information here.
–Joy Williams, PHW Regional Consultant
Partners in Health and Wholeness is an initiative of the NC Council of Churches. Please visit our website to view more resources on health and faith http://healthandwholeness.org/.