WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 A new report on the cigarette brand preferences of middle and high school students demonstrates the need for Congress to give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the power to regulate tobacco, Partnership for Prevention Interim President Corinne G. Husten, MD, MPH, said today.
"It's no accident that the most-advertised brand of cigarettes in history is also the favorite brand of high school and middle school students," Husten said. "Congress must move quickly to introduce and pass legislation giving FDA the authority to curtail advertising and promotional practices that appeal to underage youth."
The survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that Marlboro - the most heavily advertised brand of cigarettes - was the brand "usually smoked" by 52.3 percent of high school students and 43.3 percent of middle school students who regularly smoke. Cumulatively, the three most heavily advertised brands - Marlboro, Newport and Camel - were preferred by 78.2 percent of middle school smokers and 86.5 percent of high school smokers. Marlboro is manufactured by Altria, while Newport is made by Lorillard and Camel is sold by R.J. Reynolds.
"Altria and R.J. Reynolds must accept responsibility for their actions and end their advertising practices that appeal to children," Husten said. "Giving the FDA the power to regulate tobacco marketing would be a huge step to address one of the greatest public health threats facing American youth."
Husten said the report also underscored the need for increased funding for mass-media campaigns to counteract tobacco-industry marketing.
"Altria funds a campaign it claims is intended to discourage youth smoking," she said. "But data have shown that such campaigns by the tobacco industry actually increase youth tobacco use."
Partnership for Prevention is a non-partisan, non-profit organization of business, non-profit, health care and government institutions committed to making disease prevention and health promotion a national priority. More information is available at www.prevent.org.
SOURCE Partnership for Prevention