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Stop marketing tobacco to kids

To the Editor:

In 1998, the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement with the tobacco companies was enacted. This settlement severely limited tobacco advertising and restricted tobacco companies from utilizing billboard and transit advertising. Additionally, they could no longer target underage youth with print advertising. This meant that the tobacco companies would have to be creative with the manner in which they advertised toward adolescents and young adults, which is the group that is most susceptible to product marketing.

Youth are now targeted through Point of Sale advertising, when tobacco products are highly visible where other items are purchased, such as by the registers in convenience and grocery stores and pharmacies. Research shows that kids who shop at stores with tobacco marketing two or more times a week are 64 percent more likely to start smoking than their peers who don’t. By covering up tobacco products at these locations, other countries have been able to boast significant dccrcascs in youth smoking rates.

The New York State Tobacco Control Program has launched a new media campaign that plainly states that our kids have seen enough. They are bombarded with tobacco marketing every time they shop at the stores that prominently display tobacco products. It is time to change as 22,500 NYS children under the age of 18 become new daily smokers each year.

Help lower youth smoking rates by supporting changes to reduce youth exposure to in-store tobacco marketing. To View and support our new tobacco marketing campaign visit www.tobaccofreenys.org. Encourage children to speak up and say that they have seen enough.

Jill Rock

Adirondack Tobacco Free Network

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