sbelsere 3 years, 1 month ago on 'Contact the Editor' Link

To the Editor:

Think of the last time you noticed tobacco advertising and where you saw it. Chances are that your answer will involve you standing in line to buy something, whether it was at a convenience store or grocery store or pharmacy. This advertising is referred to as Point of Sale and there is a great deal of research supporting that this type of marketing works for tobacco sales, especially with adolescents and teenagers.

A 2007 study showed that 95% of all New York State licensed tobacco distributors display some type of advertising for cigarettes. This means that in the majority of stores selling cigarettes there will be advertisements reminding you on your way out the door to buy tobacco products. Research has also shown that advertisements do not significantly affect the purchasing decisions of previously established smokers. So then who is targeted by these Point of Sale advertisements? Adolescent and youth non-smokers.

As a community, we need to take steps toward decreasing the visibility of tobacco products, in hopes of discouraging adolescents and teenagers from trying their first cigarette. This is an easy change that can be made and ultimately works in further diminishing smoking rates in youth. Many countries, such as Canada, are beginning to see the benefits of enacting policies that ban tobacco marketing in stores. All Canadian provinces ban tobacco displays in convenience and grocery stores.

Support changes to reduce youth exposure to in-store tobacco marketing. For more information and to see what your kids see at these stores, visit the Reducing Store Marketing page on www.tobaccofreenys.org.

Sarah Belser-Ehrlich Adirondack Tobacco Free Network