Fillmore, N.Y. – Youth in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties (CCA), as well as across New York State, are declaring today, Friday, October 13 as the first ever “Seen Enough Tobacco Day” (SET Day) to protect themselves and other children from the billions of dollars of tobacco promotions in places where they and other youth can see and be influenced by them. The goal is to put an end to youth smoking and other tobacco use.
In honor of the first annual SET Day, youth advocates of Reality Check New York here at Tobacco-Free CCA are showing (and telling) their community they’ve “Seen Enough Tobacco” all day with their online communities on social media and displays in the community. They will share scary facts on tobacco use, its marketing and its impact. The Fillmore Reality Check group painted the windows at the Fillmore Shop and Save to tell the community about the average age of when new smokers start. The hope is to shock the community about how early teens start smoking and build support for a county-wide Tobacco 21 Law.
According to the U. S. Surgeon General, “advertising and promotional activities by tobacco companies have been shown to cause the onset and continuation of smoking among adolescents and young adults.” The day is part of the overall statewide “Seen Enough Tobacco” initiative.
“We know that most adult tobacco smokers first tried tobacco as kids,” said Maansi Bansal-Travers, PhD, a research scientist with the Department of Health Behavior at Roswell Park Cancer Institute who focuses on tobacco advertising and promotion. “Decreasing exposure to tobacco products and tobacco advertising is critical to decreasing youth smoking today.”
“The average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13,” said Reality Check member and Fillmore student Kaylee Willmart. “We need to make people in our community aware of this and take action.”
“Reality Check is a youth-led, adult supported movement,” said Reality Check coordinator for Tobacco-Free CCA, Jonathan Chaffee. “These youth work hard not only for ‘Seen Enough Tobacco Day,’ but every day to advocate for change and create a tobacco-free generation.”
Findings on youth tobacco use and tobacco industry marketing in places where children and young adolescents can see them indicate:
- The average age of a new smoker is 13 years old, and 90 percent of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18.
- The U.S. tobacco industry spent an estimated $9.5 billion on advertising and promotion of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in 2013. This includes nearly $220 million annually in New York State, or nearly $602,000 a day.
- Stores popular among adolescents contain almost three times more tobacco marketing materials compared to other stores in the same community.
Community members are encouraged to attend Seen Enough Tobacco Day events, share photos on social media using #SeenEnoughTobacco and sign the Seen Enough Tobacco online petition at www.SeenEnoughTobacco.org to pledge their support.
For more information please contact Reality Check Coordinator Jonathan Chaffee at firstname.lastname@example.org.