Get Healthy Carson City: Protecting children from tobacco industry interference

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World No Tobacco Day is held each year on May 31 by the World Health Organization. This year’s theme is “protecting children from tobacco industry interference.” This is a day to raise awareness of the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use, especially among youth.

According to the American Lung Association, young people often establish smoking behavior during adolescence, with most smokers having their first cigarette by the time they turn 18. Tobacco companies, meanwhile, spend billions of dollars every year on marketing tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes and others, targeting the next generation of users.

While youth cigarette use has decreased dramatically over the last two decades, adolescents are now trying and using electronic vaping products at unprecedented rates, leading to a new generation of Nevadans who are at risk for nicotine addiction. According to the Truth Initiative, in 2021, 4.8% of high school students in Nevada smoked cigarettes on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, smoking prevalence among high school students was 3.8%.

In 2021, 18.8% of high school students in Nevada used electronic vapor products on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the prevalence of vaping use among high school students was 18%. While national data show that smoking rates are down, the rate of vaping in teens has skyrocketed.

There are 1.3 billion tobacco users worldwide. That number would be even larger if tobacco didn’t kill half of its users. Tobacco smoking is the world's leading cause of avoidable premature mortality. According to the World Health Organization, tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year, including an estimated 1.3 million non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke.

Tobacco does not only negatively impact adults, but it has concerning health effects among youth. According to the American Lung Association, almost 2,500 children under 18 try their first cigarette every day, and more than 400 of these children will become regular daily smokers. Half of these children will ultimately die from their habit.

Eager to grow up and try new things, young people are already vulnerable to the lure of tobacco use. Unfortunately, the ruthless way tobacco products are often packaged, marketed, and made can increase that risk. Tobacco companies claim they don’t advertise to youth, but studies have found this to be untrue.

For nearly 75 years, tobacco companies have understood the importance of influencer marketing and social media, which enables them to use this tactic to target vulnerable youth. It has been found that kids as young as eight years old are using social media more than ever, and it has been reported that tobacco companies have paid social media influencers to secretly promote cigarettes, e-cigarettes/vapes, and other tobacco products in more than 40 countries.

According to the National Institutes of Health, studies have found that social media marketing played a critical role in fueling the popularity of Juul e-cigarettes among young people and helped cause a youth e-cigarette epidemic, which is still on the rise today. Reports show that tobacco companies are aggressively using social media to reach a global audience of all ages in order to addict a new generation to their tobacco and nicotine products and increase “lifelong customers.”

Unfortunately, tobacco companies are using more than just social media and influencers to target young people. Tobacco companies capitalize on the online popularity of musicians and festivals. They use these events as opportunities to sponsor and promote their addictive products to gain brand awareness.

Tobacco companies are even using sports to their advantage, with famous race car drivers promoting nicotine pouches and sports content featuring tobacco products. These tactics show how far tobacco companies will go to get young people hooked on their products.

Let us make a world without tobacco and expose the tobacco industry’s efforts to stop targeting young people with products that are harmful to their health. Don’t be fooled by their deceptive tactics, bright-colored packaging and flavors. Join us in participating in World No Tobacco Day on May 31.

For free help to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW, text “QUITNOW” to 333888 or go to For teens, go to or text “Start my Quit” to 36072 or call 855.891.9989. For more information, go to or

The Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at Carson City Health and Human Services is available to provide tobacco presentations to our youth, educators and parents. Email for more information about the Tobacco Prevention & Control Program.

For additional resources and information about our department programs and services, check out our website at, “Like” us on Facebook at, follow us on X @CCHealthEd or Instagram @gethealthycarsoncity, call us at 775-887-2190, or visit us at 900 E. Long St., in Carson City. 


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