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Helping Reduce Underage Tobacco Use - U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company

Kids should not use tobacco products. U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company invests in a number of programs directed at helping reduce underage tobacco use.

Underage tobacco use is a complex issue for which there is no one simple solution. There is no single reason why young people engage in risky behaviors, such as experimenting with tobacco products, alcohol or drugs. Experts point to a variety of societal, environmental and personal factors that must be considered to help prevent these behaviors, and recommend a multi-faceted approach. That’s why we support a positive youth development approach to preventing underage tobacco use, emphasizing positive relationships and activities, and reducing risk factors. This approach can help kids make healthy decisions and resist a broad range of risky behaviors, such as tobacco use.

We support a variety of programs and initiatives to help reduce underage access to tobacco products, fund organizations that provide kids with the support they need to make healthy decisions, and support the development of tools for parents to help them raise kids who don’t use any tobacco products.

Smokeless Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and Federal Regulation of Tobacco Products

Smokeless Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement

In November 1998, USSTC became the only smokeless tobacco manufacturer to reach an agreement with 45 state attorneys general. The agreement is known as the Smokeless Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. Elements of this agreement include:

  • Providing $107 million to the American Legacy Foundation over a 10-year period, ending in 2008, to conduct public education campaigns and other programs to reduce underage tobacco use and substance abuse
  • Prohibiting taking any action, directly or indirectly, to target youth within any settling state in the advertising, promotion or marketing of tobacco products
  • Barring the use of cartoons in advertising, promotion, packaging or labeling of tobacco products
  • Barring most forms of outdoor advertising, including billboards and stadium signs
  • Barring most forms of transit advertisements, such as those on taxis and at bus stops
  • Prohibiting the distribution of apparel or other merchandise such as caps, shirts and backpacks bearing tobacco brand names and logos
Federal Regulation of Tobacco Products

In June 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was given broad regulatory authority over tobacco products. USSTC supported this legislation. The law gave the FDA the authority to address a range of tobacco issues, including reducing underage tobacco use, encouraging cessation and communicating the health effects of tobacco products.

USSTC’s Business Practices

In addition to complying with legal and regulatory requirements, by following Altria’s Standards for Underage Tobacco Prevention, USSTC also:

  • identifies and adheres to applicable laws, principles and/or policies for marketing its products with the goal of responsibly marketing to the respective intended audience and limiting reach to underage audiences;
  • offers retail programs with requirements and financial incentives for participating retailers to sell its products only in clerk-assisted transactions;
  • educates sales and marketing employees on ways they can help prevent underage tobacco access and use;
  • supports the federal law that requires all cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products to be merchandised in a clerk-assisted manner. USSTC also supports state-level youth access prevention legislation; and
  • does not pay for or endorse any product placement. USSTC declines all requests to use, display or even reference its brands in movies, television shows or other public entertainment media.
Learn more about our marketing approach.

Related Resources

Federal Regulation Of Tobacco Products

Learn more about the FDA’s authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution and marketing of tobacco products.

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