Monday, February 3, 2014

Sweet Cheap and Deadly . . . Jeffco Youth Raise Awareness of Tobacco Marketing Tactics

Jefferson County youth expressed concern about the candy-flavored, cheap tobacco products currently available in stores at the annual Breathe Easy (BE) Team Youth Advocacy Workshop back in October 2013. Motivated and alarmed by the tobacco industry’ s marketing tactics, the students came together and developed the concept for “Sweet, Cheap and Deadly,” an educational campaign to raise awareness about how the tobacco industry is targeting youth. Using strategies such as retail-level promotions, discounted pricing and the use of flavors and additives intended to attract and addict young people, the tobacco industry lures youth to their products. The Sweet, Cheap and Deadly campaign involves observational scans to assess tobacco industry marketing in local retail outlets as well as educational outreach at schools, counter marketing activities and opportunities to speak with local leaders about the problem of cheap, flavored tobacco. During the week of February 10, 2014, BE Teams will host information tables at Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, Golden, Jefferson and Alameda High Schools to educate their peers about deceptive tobacco industry tactics. Outreach will include collecting signatures from students who are interested in taking a stand against Big Tobacco’s concerted efforts to manipulate teens. BE Team students will have a chance to present what they learned to community members on Kick Butts Day (March 19, 2014), a national day of activism to empower youth to speak out against the tobacco industry.

If you would like to know more about the “Sweet, Cheap and Deadly” campaign or the BE Team, contact Christie Preston, Youth Engagement Coordinator at Jefferson County Public Health at 303-275-7565 or

The 2014 Surgeon General’s Report released last month highlighted the fact that tobacco control efforts have averted at least 8 million early deaths since 1965, but there is still much work to be done. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 5.6 million children alive today will die prematurely from smoking unless steps are made to stop the tobacco epidemic. View the devastating effects of smoking in Colorado and across the country.

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