Buffalo, NY– This World No Tobacco Day, when it comes to in-store tobacco advertising, Buffalo-area youth want to send a clear message to cigarette makers: “We’ve seen enough!”
Recruiting “replacement smokers,” also known as kids, is a building block for big tobacco’s marketing strategy. Recent surveys have shown that kids are consistently targeted by flashy cigarette advertising in local stores. On May 31, local teens joined together at Clarence High School to raise awareness about this deadly influence.
“Teens are tired of turning a blind eye to deadly in-store advertising,” said Anthony Billoni, Director of the Erie-Niagara Tobacco-Free Coalition, which is based at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI). “This is about standing up to these giant, cancer-causing corporations and letting them know young people aren’t going to be pushed into a lifelong tobacco addiction.”
As part of World No Tobacco Day, more than 30 students from Clarence High School along with young people from Kenmore West High School, the Amherst Youth Consortium and Reality Check gathered for the event. The students wanted to send a message that dangerous tobacco marketing should be removed from stores where kids shop.
“We were honored to host this year’s event and give the students of Clarence High the opportunity to demonstrate positive community involvement,” said Kenneth Smith, Principal of Clarence High School. “It is also imperative that, as educators and parents, we too become aware and understand the impact that tobacco products promotion has on our youth.”
Across New York State, a virtual demonstration was held online as teens posted photos on a special Facebook page set up for the effort. Buffalo-area youth groups that participated in the online conversation included the University at Buffalo and Buffalo State College chapters of Colleges Against Cancer and the Yroswell Street Team. An online petition urging people to take a stand against in-store advertising is posted at TobaccoFreeNYS.org.
Research in the U.S. and abroad suggests that exposure to in-store tobacco promotions is a primary cause of youth smoking. Very few adult smokers begin after high school, with 90 percent of adult smokers starting at or before age 18.
“We should not have to cover our eyes. There are too many stores with too much tobacco marketing. Today, we stand up and send a message that it is time to change the way tobacco products are promoted in our stores,” said Kasheef Moore, Youth Advocate for Reality Check.
Researchers recently evaluated support for tobacco control policies in a telephone survey of Erie and Niagara county residents. Results found that 67% of adults and 80% of youth see tobacco advertising inside and outside of stores. Nearly 80% of adults think tobacco product displays increases the chance that a child will start smoking. Rules that would require tobacco products in stores to be hidden from display are favored by 60% of residents.
As a result of the recent Family Smoking Prevention and TobaccoControl Act (FDA law) and the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), retail stores are one of the last places where tobacco companies can expose kids to their advertising. Consequently, tobacco companies spend billions of dollars each year marketing their deadly products at the point of sale. This is done by controlling dominant display space in retail stores and through in-store advertising. Both are typically found around the cash register, sometimes referred to as the “goal post” because it is the one place in the store where everyone must go. Tobacco companies invest a lot at these locations in creating so-called “power walls,” large, visually appealing displays of products intended to attract the interest of customers.
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About the ENTFC:
The Erie-Niagara Tobacco-Free Coalition is funded by the New York State Tobacco Control Program. The goal is to educate community leaders and the public about the dangers and social costs of tobacco use, engage local stakeholders to adopt policies that restrict the tobacco industry’s presence in our communities, seek to de-normalize tobacco use and eliminate secondhand smoke. For more information, visit www.tobaccofreewny.com or www.tobaccofreenys.org.
The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.