Objective: To learn how underage youth have been regarded by the major tobacco companies, as revealed in industry documents during the Minnesota litigation.
Data sources: Documents from Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp, Lorillard Tobacco Co, Philip Morris Inc, and R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
Study selection: Documents available from the State of Minnesota and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota v Philip Morris Inc et al during the discovery process of the trial. Hundreds of industry documents related to youth, teenagers, and young adults were examined. A sample of documents are referenced as illustrations of key points.
Conclusions: Underage youths are viewed by the tobacco industry as critical to its future. Underage youth smoking patterns were examined for decades. Reductions in youth smoking rates were seen by tobacco companies as a negative trend for the companies. Specific marketing campaigns were directed at underage youth and were successful with this age group. Tobacco industry practices should continue to be carefully scrutinized.