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Tobacco Free Tompkins and Other Partnerships Launch "Tobacco Marketing Works" Campaign

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Tobacco Free Tompkins and Other Partnerships Launch "Tobacco Marketing Works" Campaign

Friday, February 11, 2011
An innovative media campaign was launched today statewide to educate New Yorkers about the effect that tobacco industry products and marketing in stores have on youth smoking. The campaign reflects research that in-store marketing is more powerful than peer pressure, and youth are twice as likely as adults to be influenced by tobacco product displays and other marketing.

"It's time to protect our kids. It is not an accident that tobacco products are displayed in the most prominent location in stores," said the Health Department's Ted Schiele, Coordinator of Tobacco Free Tompkins, one of 34 community partnerships statewide. "The tobacco industry insists that they don't target kids, but that's not what it looks like in retail stores around the state." A recent study demonstrated a direct relationship between the frequency that a teen visited stores containing tobacco advertising and his or her risk of becoming a smoker.

Retail stores are one of the last places where tobacco companies can expose kids to their advertising. Consequently, tobacco companies spend billions of dollars each year marketing their deadly products at the point of sale.

Schiele notes that in New York State the tobacco industry spends half a billion dollars a year to market cigarettes. An important marketing tactic pays retailers to display tobacco products in the most visible location in the store --' directly behind the sales counter where all customers come to pay for their purchases. A recent American Cancer Society survey of 677 New York state tobacco retailers reported that 88% of stores statewide display tobacco products directly behind the counter, and 79% of stores contained tobacco advertising. Results in Tompkins County mirrored those from around the state.

"Thanks to the Community Partnerships statewide for illustrating a problem which has largely gone unchecked: in-store tobacco marketing that is hooking our kids on a deadly product," said Scott T. Santarella, President and CEO of the American Lung Association in New York. "Because the average nonsmoking adult doesn't pay close attention, there's a faulty perception out there that this marketing does no harm. Nothing could be further from the truth. These tactics are very effective in helping the industry get new customers. Sadly, those new customers are our kids."

Community Partnerships for a Tobacco Free New York are funded by the NY 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 secondhand smoke.

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