Youth & Tobacco
Each day in the United States, nearly 2,900 kids under 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette and more than 700 kids become daily cigarette smokers.1 Many of these kids will become addicted before they are old enough to understand the risks and will ultimately die too young of tobacco-related diseases.
FDA is working to protect the health of America's children and ultimately reduce the burden of illness and death caused by tobacco use.
The Changing Landscape of Youth Tobacco Use
CTP is committed to a science-based approach that addresses the public health issues associated with tobacco use. That's why we are collaborating with CDC's Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) on the only nationally representative survey of middle and high school students that focuses exclusively on tobacco use – the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS).
On September 22, 2009, FDA banned cigarettes with characterizing fruit and clove flavors -- cigarettes that have special appeal for children. The agency's national effort to enforce this provision of the Tobacco Control Act and to advise parents about the dangers of flavored tobacco products was an important first step for responsible tobacco regulation that will protect the American public.
Regulations Restricting the Sale and Distribution of Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco to Protect Children and Adolescents
FDA issued a final rule containing a broad set of federal requirements designed to significantly curb access to, and the appeal of, cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products to children and adolescents in the United States. The new rule became effective on June 22, 2010, and has the force and effect of law. Among other things, the rule:
- Prohibits the sale of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco to people younger than 18
- Prohibits the sale of cigarette packages with less than 20 cigarettes
- Prohibits distribution of free samples of cigarettes
- Restricts distribution of free samples of smokeless tobacco
- Prohibits tobacco brand name sponsorship of any athletic, musical, or other social or cultural events
1. NSDUH 2013
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, NSDUH: Table 4.10A Past Year Initiation of Substance Use among Persons Aged 12 or Older Who Initiated Use Prior to the Age of 18, by Gender: Numbers in Thousands, 2011 and 2012. Rockville (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, 2014, Retrieved on April 17, 2015 from www.samhsa.gov.
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Resources for Parents
- Connect with Us
Stay connected with emails, text messages, RSS Feeds, content syndication, social media and more to learn about the latest federal tobacco regulations.
- Consumer Fact Sheet: Protecting Youth from Tobacco
Regulations Restricting the Sale, Distribution, and Marketing of Cigarettes, Cigarette Tobacco, and Smokeless Tobacco.
- Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2012
The 2012 Report from the Surgeon General including the executive summary, full report, consumer booket and fact sheets.
- FDA Statement on the Surgeon General’s Report on Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults [ARCHIVED]
FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg's statement on the Surgeon General's report.
- Consumer Fact Sheet: The Impact of Tobacco Use (PDF - 523KB)
Read why tobacco use is still a major problem in the U.S. and why the work of CTP is so essential.