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
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:
Federal Regulation of Tobacco Products
- 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
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.
In addition to complying with applicable legal and regulatory requirements, we take a number of steps designed to limit the reach of our brands and marketing materials to unintended audiences. For example, we:
- use one-to-one consumer communications, such as direct mail, email, consumer websites, and certain other consumer marketing activities, that involve self-imposed minimum age requirements of 21 years of age or older and age-verification procedures.
- present their brands and communications to legal-aged tobacco consumers in retail stores where they make their final brand selection.
- do not pay for or endorse any product placement. We decline all requests to use, display or even reference our brands in movies, television shows or other public entertainment media.
- require retailers participating in our trade programs to take additional measures that are not mandated by federal law, including:
- training store personnel who sell tobacco products using We Card or equivalent training;
- displaying We Card or equivalent signage; and
- using an age-verification tool.
We also follow Altria Group’s Standards for Underage Tobacco Prevention.