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Sustainability Homepage - Youth Tobacco Prevention
YOUTH TOBACCO
PREVENTION
Accelerating the decline
in youth tobacco use

G4-DMA
Management Approach

G4-DMA
RAI and its subsidiaries share society’s belief that minors should never use tobacco products, including vapor products (also called electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes). Youth tobacco use is illegal, and it hurts our businesses. Some government responses to youth tobacco use, such as stricter penalties for complicit adults, are reasonable and effective. Others, such as excessive tobacco excise tax increases, unfairly burden adult tobacco consumers, create illicit markets that hurt our businesses and don’t prevent youth access to tobacco.

Independent studies show long-term, substantial progress in reducing youth tobacco use and access. Most notably, a recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products shows decline in all forms of tobacco by youth.

According to the study, the number of U.S. middle school and high school students who say they are current tobacco users – defined as having used a tobacco product in the past 30 days – dropped from 4.7 million in 2015 to 3.9 million in 2016.


Tobacco Use Among High School Students*

      
Any
 
Any
Combustible
≥2 Types
 
E-cigarettes
 
Cigarettes
 
Cigars
 
Smokeless
Tobacco
2011  
2012  
2013  
2014  
2015  
2016
*Estimated percentage of high school students who currently use any tobacco products, combustible tobacco products, ≥2 tobacco products, and selected tobacco products; Source: National Youth Tobacco Survey, United States 2011-2016

The decline in youth use of tobacco products was primarily driven by a drop in e-cigarette use among middle school and high school stu­dents from 3 million in 2015 to just under 2.2 million in 2016. In addition, declines were also seen during 2015-2016 among high school students who used two or more tobacco products, any combustible tobacco products, and hookahs.

“While these latest numbers are encour­aging, it is critical that we work to ensure this downward trend continues over the long term across all tobacco products.”
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

While these findings demonstrate the effectiveness of youth tobacco prevention strategies, continued diligence is needed, and we remain committed to furthering youth tobacco prevention (YTP). Preventing the use of tobacco products by minors is a core component of RAI’s sustainability strategy.

Goals & Leadership

Our goal for Youth Tobacco Prevention is to lead corporate, educational and legislative initiatives that accelerate the decline in youth tobacco use. We measure our success through various mechanisms, including:
  • Distribution of our Right Decisions Right Now: Be Tobacco Free program (RDRN);

  • Number of our employee-led RDRN presentations;

  • Education and training materials to retailers to stop the sale of tobacco products to minors; and

  • Legislation passed to prevent minors from purchasing, using and possessing tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

Our YTP efforts are a collaboration among representatives from public affairs, government relations, philanthropy and communications. In addition to the work happening throughout RAI and its subsidiaries, our YTP strategy seeks to generate greater understanding and involvement from external stakeholders by developing reliable engagement mechanisms, messaging and metrics. The engaged stakeholder groups include employees, trade partners, educators, government officials, non-profit organizations and consumers.

Programs & Priorities

RAI and its subsidiaries are proud of the youth tobacco prevention programs they’ve developed and the efforts they’ve made to accelerate the decline in youth tobacco use. Our commitment is to keep Youth Tobacco Prevention at the forefront of our efforts as we pursue our vision of transforming the tobacco industry. It is the right thing to do for our society and it is the right thing for our businesses.

YOUTH TOBACCO PREVENTION PROGRAMS

LEGISLATIVE ENGAGEMENT