OSWEGO, N.Y. – A statewide media campaign was launched over the weekend to educate New Yorkers that in-store tobacco product displays are a form of marketing which impacts youth smoking.
The campaign reflects research that indicates the more kids see tobacco marketing, the more likely they are to start smoking.
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“Every day, our kids are exposed to a tremendous amount of tobacco marketing in convenience stores, gas stations, pharmacies and grocery stores,” said Abby Jenkins, program coordinator of the Tobacco Free Network of Oswego County. “It is not an accident that tobacco products are displayed in the most visible location in stores – directly behind the checkout counter. Exposure to tobacco marketing in stores is a primary cause of youth smoking so we need to take action to protect our kids.”
Each year 22,500 youth in New York State become new daily smokers and 31.6 million packs of cigarettes are bought or smoked in New York State.
There is one licensed tobacco retailer for every 194 children in New York State, and on average, these retailers provide 32 square feet behind the checkout counter for tobacco displays.
Research also shows that retailers near schools have even more products and signage on display.
Further, the tobacco industry spends approximately $1 million every day in New York State to market their products through these highly trafficked retail displays.
Oswego County has 107 tobacco retailers, in comparison to neighboring counties such as Cayuga County which has only 55 tobacco retailers.
In an effort to better understand the impact of this strong concentration of marketing, a geographic information system analysis for Oswego County will be performed to map retail locations that sell tobacco products.
The study will include a series of mapped relationships, including the density of tobacco retailers to school locations and to families with children under 18.
The Tobacco Free Network of Oswego hopes to complete data collection by spring 2012.
Concerned community members and parents can take action to protect our kids at TobaccoFreeNYS.org
Community Partnerships for a Tobacco Free New York are funded by the NYS Department of Health’s Tobacco Control Program.
They 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, seek to de-normalize tobacco use and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.
Oswego County has its own Community Partnership, the Tobacco Free Network of Oswego County. To reach TFN directly, please call (315) 343-2344 ext. 21.