FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 19, 2018
Broome County teens take part in statewide Youth Summit and #SeenEnoughTobacco rally
Studies show the more tobacco products kids see, the more likely they are to start smoking
BINGHAMTON, NY – July 19, 2018 – Tobacco Free Broome and Tioga Reality Check youth, have just returned from the Hawaiian themed annual Reality Check Youth Summit. The youth and local leaders exposed what they see as the manipulative and deceptive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry. The Summit was held at Cazenovia College in Central New York. During leadership workshops and teambuilding exercises, 150 teens from around the state made plans for raising awareness in their communities about the impact tobacco marketing has on youth.
“The average age of a new smoker in New York is just 13 years old , and no one wants to see a kid start smoking,” said Keonna Mack-Feggins, a Reality Check advocate from Binghamton High School. “It seems like tobacco companies are trying to deceive kids with packaging that looks like candy and thousands of flavors like strawberry and bubble gum that appeal to kids,” said Jacob Brady, Johnson City High School Reality Check youth. “The more kids see tobacco the more likely they are to start smoking. And we’re here to say we’ve seen enough tobacco in our communities!”
“Tobacco companies put most of their marketing in stores where 75 percent of teens shop at least once a week,” said Morgan Hill, Windsor Reality Check advocate. “We’re speaking out in our communities and across the state to protect youth from tobacco marketing and the dangers of tobacco use.”
Tobacco companies utilize kid friendly messaging to attract youth to tobacco products.
During the Youth Summit, Reality Check members demonstrated how the tobacco company uses deceptive marketing tactics to attract youth to their products. The youth showed examples of these tactics by using;
- a kids’ birthday cake with cigarettes for candles, and a banner reading “The average age of a new smoker is 13”
- a crayon box with cigarettes instead of crayons that reflect startling statistics about tobacco marketing and youth smoking
- a claw machine filled with packs of cigarettes instead of stuffed animals and toys
- an ice cream truck promoting tobacco product sales rather than ice cream sales, and
- open packs of cigarettes on the blades of a working 8’ tall x 5’ wide mini-golf windmill
At each demonstration, Reality Check youth explained how the kid-friendly exhibits grab the attention of passersby just as the tobacco industry is grabbing youth’s attention with tobacco marketing in stores.
Reality Check empowers youth to become leaders in their communities in exposing what they see as the manipulative and deceptive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry. The organization’s members produce change in their communities through grassroots mobilization and education. The Broome County Health Department is the lead agency for the Reality Check program for Broome and Tioga Counties.
#SeenEnoughTobacco is an online campaign with the goal of safeguarding children from the billions of dollars of hard-hitting tobacco promotions in places where children see them. Parents, community leaders and others interested in protecting youth are encouraged to learn more at SeenEnoughTobacco.org.