Local survey focuses on tobacco advertising

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | John Zick | Categories:
Corning, N.Y. — Corning Mayor Richard Negri used to smoke three packs of Lucky Strike cigarettes a day. “That’s how bad a smoker gets when he’s addicted,” Negri lamented. After trying to quit smoking three or four times without success, Negri finally kicked the habit several decades ago after developing an illness. “Something clicked,” he said. “Once you make up your mind, I mean really make up your mind ... it’s really easier to quit.” Negri shared his story Tuesday as the Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Community Partnership and the American Cancer Society released the results of a recent tobacco-related advertising survey. The release of the survey coincides with the Great American Smokeout on Thursday. According to research, in-store tobacco promotions are a primary cause of youth smoking. Nearly 90 percent of regular smokers start smoking before their 19th birthday. “It’s disgraceful,” said Louis McIntosh, community executive of the American Cancer Society. “We’ve been able to limit tobacco company advertising in mass media, but they’ve adapted and are taking full advantage of one of their final venues to lure kids into smoking.” The local survey, in which 20 stores in Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties were chosen at random, found 100 percent of the stores featured tobacco-product displays behind the cash register. Many of the displays were at eye-level for children. “In order to protect (the youth), our community must do something to reduce tobacco marketing,” said Cassie Coombs, program coordinator for the STTAC. According to the ACS, the statewide smoking rate for youths ages 12-17 is 8.2 percent, and the smoking rate for high school students is 14.8 percent. The ACS says not smoking and taking care of one’s body is the best way to prevent cancer. “By plastering stores with highly lit displays and bright ads placed at kid-level, they continue to focus on our kids as their next generation of customers,” McIntosh said. For more information on the Great American Smokeout, call (800) ACS-2345. Tobacco survey: 60 percent of stores had exterior tobacco ads 55 percent of stores had interior tobacco ads 5 percent of stores had tobacco ads near toys or youth products No stores had 50 percent or more tobacco-ad window coverage All stores had cigarettes on display and tobacco products behind the cash register or displayed in checkout lanes *Survey of 20 local stores (convenience, gas, supermarket, grocery, pharmacy) in Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties
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