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NAQC Newsroom: Tobacco Control

Industry funded symposium on youth smoking

Friday, October 07, 2011  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov

On November 14th and 15th, the Caron Foundation’s Student Assistance Program is holding the "Adolescent Smoking Prevention and Cessation Symposium” in Nashville. This event is funded by Philip Morris USA, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco and John Middleton Company, all owned by Altria. John Middleton is a cigar and pipe tobacco company that makes fruit and alcohol flavored Black and Mild cigars. These companies collectively manufacture the cigarette and flavored smokeless tobacco and cigar brands that are the most popular with youth (Marlboro, Skoal and Black & Mild). More high school students smoke Marlboros than all other cigarette brands combined.

Clearly these companies have a vested interest in insuring that youth continue to use their products, not in preventing initiation or promoting cessation. There is a fundamental conflict of interest between organizations committed to tobacco prevention and cessation and tobacco companies committed to selling ever-increasing numbers of tobacco products, which they can do only by addicting a new generation of tobacco users.

There are no recognized experts in youth prevention and cessation involved in this symposium, nor are any legitimate tobacco control organizations involved. It is worth noting that two of the presentations are from other Altria-funded organizations – the National 4-H Council’s Health Rocks program and the Search Institute.

This event is just another example of Altria attempting to undermine legitimate prevention and cessation efforts and trying to polish its image. Needless to say, we urge you not to attend and to pass this message. If you have any questions or need information, please contact Victoria Almquist at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids at

And Kudos to Bruce Adkins, Director of the Division of Tobacco Prevention at the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health! When he found out about that there were speakers at the symposium from the Southern Coalfields regional program, he alerted them to the funding source for the symposium and they withdrew their participation. Our goal is to have the groups that take industry funding to end up talking amongst themselves.

Source: Meg Riordan, Director, Policy Research, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

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