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According to a U.S. Department of Defense memo, 38% of military smokers start after enlisting.
Source: Odani S, Agaku IT, Graffunder CM, Tynan MA, Armour BS. Tobacco Product Use Among Military Veterans — United States, 2010–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 12 Jan 2018;67:7–12.
Big Tobacco once proposed a brand targeting younger smokers, called Kestrel. A kestrel is a bird that preys on small rodents.
Source: George-Perutz, Andrew. "Project Screen (Kestrel, Heron, Nightingale)." Truth Tobacco Industry Documents. 20 Jan. 1989. Letter.
In the past, A major tobacco company saw the military as an attractive marketing opportunity because of its young adult servicemen that they describe as “classic downscale smoker,” “less educated,” “part of the wrong crowd,” “in trouble with authorities,” and having “limited job prospects.”
Source: Military YAS Initiative, RJR, 1989
Back in the ‘80’s, a major tobacco company paid to go into inner-city neighborhoods and hand out free samples of menthol cigarettes in an effort to acquire African Americans as customers.
Source: PM, PHILIP MORRIS. BENSON & HEDGES PART-TIME INNER CITY SAMPLING PROGRAM. 1985 June 03. Philip Morris Records.
In the US, 540,000 people die a tobacco-related death every year.
Source: "Smoking and Mortality — Beyond Established Causes." NEJM. Brian D. Carter, M.P.H., Christian C. Abnet, Ph.D., Diane Feskanich, Sc.D., Neal D. Freedman, Ph.D., Patricia Hartge, Sc.D., Cora E. Lewis, M.D., Judith K. Ockene, Ph.D., Ross L. Prentice, Ph.D., Frank E. Speizer, M.D., Michael J. Thun, M.D., and Eric J. Jacobs, Ph.D., 12 Feb. 2015.
The DoD spends more than $1.6 billion each year on tobacco-related medical care, increased hospitalization, and lost days of work.
Source: Pentagon aims to curb tobacco use by military: memo; Reuters; April 26, 2016.
A study conducted in Philadelphia found that there were 69% more tobacco retailers per capita in low-income areas than in high-income areas.
Source: Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Tobacco Sales and Neighborhood Income in Philadelphia. CHART 2016;1(2):1–6
Exposure to pro-tobacco movies, TV shows, and ads more than doubles your chances of starting smoking.
Source: Wellman, Robert J., et al. "The Extent to Which Tobacco Marketing and Tobacco Use in Films Contribute to Children's Use of Tobacco: A Meta-analysis." Archive of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Jan. 2007.