Recent statistics from the Office of National Drug Control Policy released in February 2006 reveal that nearly 1.3
million teenagers started using tobacco during 2004. Since 2002, there has been an alarming trend: teenage girls
have outnumbered teenage boys as new users of marijuana, alcohol, and cigarettes.
The entire report is available to download in PDF format.
Even with all of the available information that exists on the health problems associated with tobacco use, cigarette
makers manage to find over one million new teenage smokers each day. These new smokers easily replace the 440,000 people that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates die each year from a smoking-related illness.
Big Tobacco has a big marketing budget. In order to compete with the message, four groups need to work together to
prevent those 1.3 million teenagers from picking up that first cigarette: parents, peers, schools, and the medical
Dr. Barry Hummel, a Pediatrician and one of our founding members, is spearheading our effort to reach out into the community, recruiting parents, teachers, and students to put pressure on the tobacco industry. At his urging, our physicians recently formed the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation, a non-profit organization designed to promote tobacco awareness and prevention.
As a result of the Master Settlement Agreement between the tobacco industry and the individual states, the tobacco industry agreed to certain restrictions on advertising (click here for a summary of marketing restrictions). This agreement left several loopholes that are currently being exploited by the tobacco industry. The Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation is developing programs aimed at warning children, parents, and educators of the current marketing practices of the tobacco industry, including:
In addition to developing our own programs to address each of these issues, we are currently partnering with existing organizations to spread the message. We frequently present Tar Wars, the tobacco-free education program of the American Academy of
Family Physicians that teaches kids to view tobacco ads with skeptical eyes. We recently participated in Kick Butts Day on March 28, 2007; Kick
Butts Day is the annual celebration of youth advocacy, leadership and activism sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. We have also coordinated local research on Point-of-Purchase advertising with StoreALERT.org.
To learn more about our school programs, or to let us know about other existing programs, please email Dr. Barry
Hummel. You can click here to find out what kids are saying about our program. You can also read an interview with Dr. Hummel regarding his role with the Quit Doc Smoking Treatment Network, and its partner organization, the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation.