By their own admission, the tobacco industry has stated in internal documents, "young adult smokers are the only source of replacement smokers." Young adults are so important to the industry because tobacco companies recognize the transition from experimental smoking to an established smoker is a series of stages that occur up to the age 25. College campuses, bars and nightclubs, sporting events, concerts and musical festivals, and the Internet have assumed greater importance for tobacco companies due to tobacco settlements and restrictions on advertising to youth. The young adult years are a time of experimentation, providing the industry with the opportunity to lure new customers and keep smokers addicted. With the tobacco industry spending more than ever (over $15 billion a year) on advertising and marketing, and with the smoking rate for young adults ages 18-25 (23%) higher than any other age group, now is the time to plan an ATTACK against the tobacco industry and nicotine dependence.
In August 2007, the STAND project of BREATHE California received funding for the ATTACK project from the Public Health Trust, a program of the Public Health Institute, to create, produce, and disseminate a toolkit for countering tobacco industry marketing techniques aimed at young adults, ages 18-25. As part of the toolkit development process, a needs assessment STAND conducted to gather information from agencies working with young adults and/or working on tobacco issues. The needs assessment solicited input in regard to: what agencies do when working with young adults and/or on tobacco issues, what methods are effective when working with young adults and/or on tobacco issues, and what the challenges and barriers of working with young adults and/or on tobacco issues are. Utilizing needs assessment, the outcomes of Innovative Research and Evaluation Projects, and the expertise of an Advisory Committee.