Youth and Tobacco

Nearly 95% of addicted smokers start by the time they turn 21. Young people are aggressively targeted by Big Tobacco to become replacement customers for those that their products are killing. The tobacco industry targets young people with fruit, candy and menthol flavoring, plus advertising, product design and packaging, and event sponsorships and promotions.


“Raising the legal minimum age for cigarette purchaser to 21 could gut our key young adult market (17-20) where we sell about 25 billion cigarettes and enjoy a 70 percent market share.” – Phillip Morris Report, January 21, 1986


Youth Tobacco Use Fast Facts:

  • Nicotine is addictive, and adolescents are especially vulnerable.
  • The adolescent brain is negatively impacted by nicotine, and its long-term effects are a significant public health concern.
  • 77,000 Kids in MN are current tobacco users
  • 50% of MN teen smokers have tried to quit
  • 80% of teen smokers become adult smokers despite intending to quit after a few years
  • Ultimately, 118,000 of today’s Minnesota kids will die from smoking
  • Flavored tobacco products mask the harshness of tobacco making it easier to start using
  • Youth are more likely to use tobacco products if they are flavored and if youth are frequently exposed to tobacco ads, including in stores.


Learn more about what we’re doing to prevent young people from ever starting to use tobacco products.

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