Take Down Tobacco, Today


Courtesy of: Anagha Dogiparthi

Almost every student has received an education about anti-vaping and drug use with the same, basic spiel: “don’t do drugs, because they’re bad”. Don’t even look at them, or ask questions, just simply say no.

But this brings up the question of whether students are aware of the dangerous lies major companies such as Big Tobacco are spreading, and whether they know enough about the advocacy movement to participate. Although many understand the dangers of tobacco, some even go as far as to ignore the warnings, they fail to understand how to stop the problem at its root. Fortunately, today, March 31st, is none other than Take Down Tobacco Day; and it’s never too late to learn.

A major reason why young people are encouraged to use tobacco is because of the manipulative tactics, both in advertising and the products themselves, used by companies like Big Tobacco. They use blatantly deceptive advertising, targeted toward youth, and still have a significant say in policy-making across the nation. Examples include celebrity and influencer endorsements, where “idols” on social media are paid to serve as brand ambassadors. Considering that these idols are often people youth look up to and try to mimic, attempting to spread messages encouraging substance usage is extremely negative. Additionally, multiple tobacco companies have released scholarship opportunities for students, where they are encouraged to write about the dangers of tobacco alone and how the respective company’s product is much “better”. Drawing youth in with the promise of a future education, and forcing them to write about something that simply isn’t accurate, is a primary example of a manipulative marketing tactic that needs to be stopped. Lastly, tobacco companies have also given talks at school where they essentially demeaned tobacco products but falsely advertised that their products had the same effect, but were “healthier”. Explicitly coming into students’ classrooms as a seemingly trustworthy authority figure screams calculating behavior, and it’s important that they are aware of what’s really going on. 

But what does this mean for youth specifically, and how can they stop it from happening and educate themselves?  

The Take Down Tobacco Arcade features multiple games with trivia-style questions where students can educate themselves while also having fun. This is a great way to learn more about the dangers of tobacco, and answer questions such as “what makes tobacco addictive in the first place?”. 

Today, March 31st, is Take Down Tobacco Day, and it’s never too late to participate! One quick and easy way to help, even today, is by sharing on social media. Create a post, or post on a story, about facts that expose the tobacco industry’s lies, or another topic that inspires you. There are several ready-to-use posts on the Take Down Tobacco website, so it’s as easy as simply saving and posting the image. Scrolling through the resources also guides users to a picture of the map, where they can see the goals of each state regarding tobacco legislation in the future. For California, the goal is to “tell the FDA to get rid of flavored tobacco products in 2023”. Use the hashtag “#TakeDownTobacco” for a more widespread audience, and begin to inspire!