By Mackenzie Oatman, Contributing Writer
OSWEGO, NY – Youth smokers and adult smokers are smoking one of the three most heavily marketed brands of cigarettes more than any other brand, according to a report released by the State Health Department.
Despite the statistics, established teen smokers at Oswego High School claim marketing is not what makes them smoke.
Newport Cigarettes are the choice of more than two-thirds of established youth smokers. The second most widely used brand is Marlboro, followed by Camel, as recorded in the 2009 New York Adult Tobacco Survey.
“Clearly, tobacco industry marketing works, and we need to continue our efforts to protect children by, among other things, limiting the in-store marketing they’re exposed to,” said Abby Jenkins, program coordinator for the Tobacco Free Network of Oswego County.
“Other countries are already covering up advertisements,” she said, adding that other nations including Australia and Canada are already taking action in banning in-store marketing,
Some of the teen smokers at Oswego High School indicated that brand choice is influenced more by their peers rather than advertisements.
A sophomore said, “Marbs are what I’ve always smoked,” since he was first introduced to cigarettes in the eighth grade.
Another student, a junior, said, “My friends are loyal to Newports.”
Until 2010, Newport cigarettes were only available as menthol cigarettes.
The existence of menthol cigarettes has been recognized as a pull factor for youth smokers.
Lorillard Tobacco Company, the company that sells Newport Cigarettes, sued the U.S government in an attempt to prevent the release of a report that exposed the definite tendency of a youth smoker to use menthol cigarettes.
“I wouldn’t smoke if there weren’t menthols,” said an OHS junior who also said she smokes “infrequently.”
Another student commented on the release of non-menthol Newport cigarettes and the increase in marketing that accompanied it.
“I already know what I want,” said the freshman who’s loyal to Marlboro Smooths, another brand of menthol cigarettes. “They taste like Winterfresh gum.”
The same student said he wouldn’t stop smoking cigarettes even if menthols were discontinued.
“Cigarettes are cigarettes,” he said.
This opinion is shared by another student, a junior, who has smoked “off and on for three years.”
Though she prefers menthols, she said she would still smoke if they were no longer available.
To back this up she simply added, “Because I smoke cigarettes.”