Press Release, Tobacco-Free Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming
ALBION – At the Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition meeting on Jan. 26, Reality Check youth from Kendall Junior Senior High School presented research and evidence on the tobacco industry and their retail store marketing and advertising. The group’s single most important message was clear: “We’ve Seen Enough!”
After the presentation was complete, the student advocates answered questions and led a discussion on potential ways the community can take action in protecting children, as well as teens like them, from hard-hitting tobacco marketing that causes youth smoking.
“(I didn’t realize how) kids are targeted before they even walk in the store, with bright, colorful promotions on windows and walls,” said Reality Check member and Kendall student, Dillion Morgott. “Tobacco products are also placed alongside ads for snacks, candy and ice cream that kids know and love.”
In New York State, the average age of a new smoker is 13 years old, and 90 percent of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18. The U.S. Surgeon General calls smoking a “pediatric epidemic” and says, “Advertising and promotional activities by tobacco companies have been shown to cause the onset and continuation of smoking among adolescents and young adults.” Even with all of this data, research shows stores popular among adolescents contain almost three times more tobacco marketing materials compared to other stores in the same community.
Shelly Wolanske, youth engagement coordinator of Tobacco-Free Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming Counties (TF-GLOW) and Reality Check leader, lauds her advocates’ efforts in educating lawmakers and community members about tobacco marketing and standing up for a healthier Orleans County.
“Their efforts, along with partner support from the Drug Free Communities Coalition members, we can continue to build awareness, promote action and create change that will have a positive impact for the children of our community,” she said.
For more information about TF-GLOW programs or Reality Check, contact Shelly Wolanske at 585-343-5997 or firstname.lastname@example.org.