Teens: We’ve Seen Enough – We Want Our Change

OSWEGO, NY – More than 130 teens came together in Buffalo recently to send a clear message: They have seen enough in-store tobacco marketing, and they want their change.

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Adrianna Greco

On Aug. 11, Reality Check youth from across New York State rallied together to send the message that dangerous tobacco marketing should be removed from stores where kids shop.

Four students from The Reality Check CO2 (Cayuga, Onondaga and Oswego counties) program were among the 130 teens: Adrianna Greco from Cayuga County (shown above speaking at the press conference), Vennessa Groom of Cayuga County, Tevin Simard of Oswego County and Caleb Dady of Onondaga County.

Also in attendance was college student Glen Miles of Onondaga County, Reality Check CO2 program alum and a presenter at this year’s summit.

The more in-store advertising they see, the more likely they are to smoke.

Communities are eager to protect kids from dangerous influences.

Curbing flashy advertising and large tobacco displays whenever they walk into their local convenience store is an important step.

“We’re tired of having to stare at power walls of cigarette packs behind the register and huge advertisements in store windows,” said Sarah Strumpf, a Reality Check member. “We need the adults in our community to work with us to combat the tobacco industry and keep us from being led into a lifelong tobacco addiction.”

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.

Andrew Hyland, PhD, Department of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, shared his insight during the street action in Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo.

Dr. Hyland said, “This event reinforces what we already know. Reducing the number of tobacco retailers or covering up the ubiquitous display of tobacco in stores both help to decrease the rate of youth smoking.”

The 16 Reality Check Programs in New York work with many other groups such as the American Cancer Society, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the University of California to educate the community about tobacco issues such as in-store marketing.

Teens encourage the community to take action to limit youth exposure to this dangerous and deadly influence.

About Reality Check

Reality Check is the youth component of the NYS Tobacco Control Program.  Teens 13-18 work to educate the community about the manipulative marketing tactics of the tobacco industry and bring about policy changes that help protect children and teens from its influence.

To learn more, contact your local Reality Check program or visit www.realitycheckofny.com