You’ve never smoked before and you want to make sure you are doing it right. No problem, there’s an app for that. In fact, there are 107 apps offered in English telling you everything from information on products and their labels to smoking simulators in both the Apple and Android app stores. And since smart phones, tables and notebooks weren’t available when tobacco advertising laws were written, this new form of advertising by the tobacco companies has managed to sneak around the law.
With nearly six billion cellphone accounts, that’s a lot of potential customers. Considering about “52 percent of children under the age of eight have access to smartphones, iPads, and other mobile devices at home,” according to a study by Common Sense Media, that’s also a lot of future potential tobacco customers as well. Exposing young children and teens to tobacco apps and smoking simulating early in their lives gives the illusion that smoking is acceptable and not harmful, because if it was harmful it wouldn’t be on an app, right?
As a parent it is important to monitor what your child is downloading onto their smart device. According to researchers in Australia who looked at smoking apps “42 Android apps and 65 Apples apps directly advocated smoking.” Just because the app is “free” doesn’t mean it’s safe.
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