Today is the 20th Great American SmokeOut, the annual day sponsored by the American Cancer Society to encourage people to kick the habit. In the past year, much of the anti-smoking efforts have been aimed at children, because every day in the country, 3,000 young people under the age of 18 start smoking. That adds up to one million new smokers each year, helping the tobacco industry replace smokers who quit or die of cigarette related diseases. Today on Democracy Now!, we’ll talk about how the tobacco giants target youth; we’ll hear excerpts of a new video called Smoke Alarm, and we’ll have a debate between advertising/pr people on the ethics of marketing tobacco to kids. But first, we bring you this excerpt of a hearing held by Democrats in Congress this fall, where 12 year old Justin Hoover of West DesMoines, Iowa told Representatives how he started smoking at the age of six, how easy it’s been to get cigarettes and how hard it’s been for him to quit.
Tonight HBO will premiere a new video called SMOKE ALARM: The Unfiltered Truth About Cigarettes. It exposes how the tobacco industry targets children.