OSWEGO, NY – Local non-profit leaders in Oswego, Christina Wilson, executive director of Integrated Community Planning and Brandy Koproski, board president of the Oswego YMCA, are speaking out and standing up to the tobacco industry in an effort to end tobacco use once and for all.
Their efforts are part of national Kick Butts Day (March 18) where they joined youth from around the country to voice their concerns about tobacco marketing and the impact it has on their community.
“Tobacco use is still a big problem in New York State and we want to support the generation that ends it, said Joseph Wicks, coordinator of community engagement of Tobacco Free CNY. “We know that tobacco marketing at retail locations is a primary cause of youth smoking and we’re asking for help from our community leaders to join with us and declare enough is enough.”
To underscore its message, Reality Check of CNY presented about Kick Butts Day and tobacco prevention to the youth at the Oswego YMCA. Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco.
The students all signed postcards and a giant poster declaring that they will not be a replacement for the tobacco companies.
In addition to this local event, Reality Check youth advocates and leaders gathered in Albany on Kick Butts Day to announce the winners of the New York State Youth Advocate of the Year Awards and 4 regional winners from Western New York, Central New York, the Capital Region and New York City.
These outstanding young advocates have demonstrated commitment, resolve and determination to advocate against the tobacco industry and spend time and energy to make their communities healthier.
Since 2001, Reality Check youth advocates have been working to educate community leaders and their peers about the manipulative tactics of the tobacco industry to recruit youth to become the next generation of replacement smokers.
According to the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report, if current smoking rates continue, 5.6 million Americans younger than 18 who are alive today are projected to die prematurely from smoking-related disease.
In New York State, 108,500 high school students smoke cigarettes and each year more than 13,500 kids under 18 become new daily smokers.
A study released last month by the American Cancer Society has found that smoking’s toll on health is even worse than previously thought.
The study found five additional diseases attributable to smoking and estimated that an additional 60,000 people die every year in the U.S. due to tobacco use, bringing the total annual death toll to 540,000.
In New York State, 82% of retailers including pharmacies, convenience stores and bodegas dedicate at least half of the space behind the checkout counter to openly visible tobacco products.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids sponsors Kick Butts Day.
As part of this national day of youth activism, there are more than 1,000 events in schools and communities across the United States and around the world.
For more information about the harmful effects of tobacco marketing in retail stores, visit www.seenenoughtobacco.org