Within the tobacco industry, secret documents coldly refer to children as “replacement smokers”. Quite simply because it is children who must replace the smokers who die prematurely.
In the Netherlands alone, 20,000 people die each year from the consequences of smoking. Half of these people die before reaching retirement age. The tobacco industry is therefore constantly searching for new customers to replace those who prematurely die from tobacco and thus stop smoking. Who are those customers? Children! They are vulnerable thanks to intensive marketing, social media, games and peer pressure from other young people who smoke.
A young smoker spends a great deal of money as a lifelong smoker. Nearly all smokers today started before they were 18 years old. That was the case in the past, and remains so today. A child becomes addicted to smoking within four weeks. Each day, 120 Dutch children start smoking.
Not a need met; but a dependency created and entrenched.
The tobacco industry sees every young person as a potential new customer and does not shy away from any means to get young people to start smoking. Misleading marketing, surreptitious advertising and attractive packaging make smoking seem appealing. Sweet flavors, cough suppressants and other additives make cigarettes easier to smoke and, most important of all, extra addictive. The tobacco industry thus ensures that starting to smoke is easy, but stopping nearly impossible.
The term “replacement smokers” comes from secret documents from the tobacco industry. Documents that contain other, similar statements that reveal the industry’s deadly strategy when it comes to our children. A small sample:
“Have they got lips? Then we want them.”
“Today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential loyal customer.”
“Our core market is the high school student.”
“A cigarette is a nicotine delivery device.”
“In fact we are in the drugs business. We are drugdealers.”
See the TEDx talk by pulmonary specialists Pauline Dekker and Wanda de Kanter about Replacement Smokers