Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Orbitz is the New Marlboro

- Lauren Silverman

Young people may not be addicted to cigarettes any more, but they are buying packs of something else daily. Back when I was in high school, it was all about Winterfresh. Today, it’s all about Orbitz and Stride.

Stand near a teenager and smell their breath – don’t be afraid – I guarantee that you’ll get a strong whiff of cinnamint or forever fruit. It’s pretty unlikely you’ll smell nicotine. Today, instead of yellow teeth and tobacco it’s about pearly whites and spearmint. It’s “can I get a stick” instead of “can I get a light”.

Chewing gum consumption, just like tobacco consumption, varies by geography. In the U.S., people chew an average of 182 stick equivalents per person per year. In the U.K., the figure is 125 - it’s 103 in Germany, 84 in Russia, 20 in China, and 4 in India. But studies show that sugar free gum sales are on the rise.

Chewing gum, just like cigarettes, has been extremely popular among young females. The typical gum chewer is female, aged 15-24, lower middle-class, employed, and has a large family. Among the young, more females than males are smokers.

And just as some young females turned to cigarettes to shed pounds back in the day, young girls today may be turning to sugar free chewing gum to lose weight.

While what teenagers are putting in their mouths has changed, what they are taking out of their wallet hasn’t. Gum isn’t all that cheap when you are chewing it nonstop. A pack costs anywhere from $1.00 to $2.00, no doubt cheaper than cigarettes, but still a dent in your paycheck.

There are plenty of good reasons to make the switch from tobacco to sugar free gum. But I have to wonder why so many young boys and girls refuse to just leave their mouths empty and their wallets full.

*image taken from adsoftheworld.com

1 comment:

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