TEEN SMOKING: Web Sites Show Dangers of Tobacco
USA Today Tuesday examined the "hundreds" of Web sites dedicated to showing children and teenagers the dangers of smoking. The information on the sites helps counter "misinformation" and "the tired teen rationalizations that smoking problems are overblown and that they could easily quit when they get older," USA Today reports. Instead, these sites offer "ammunition" for parents looking to turn their kids away from tobacco. Some of the sites described include:
- PhilipMorrisUSA.com: Philip Morris's Web site "offer[s] loads of youth antismoking support, including a link to every state government site for information about laws."
TheTruth.com: This site, "created by teens for teens," is "backed by a foundation financed by the 1998 master settlement between the states and the tobacco industry." It shows the effects of smoking on the human body "in graphic and sickening detail" including "lost teeth; cancers of the nose, tongue, mouth and throat; cataracts; hair loss."
- Tobaccofree.org: Patrick Reynolds, the grandson of R.J. Reynolds, founded this Web site to publicize the dangers of smoking. He left "the family business" 14 years ago "after losing his father and oldest brother to tobacco-related deaths." This site prints his standard speech to students about tobacco companies' marketing practices, as well as before-and-after photos of a "track star whose chewing-tobacco habit made him lose part of his jaw, nose, neck muscles and tongue before he died at age 19" (Graham, USA Today, 10/31.)
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