Reality Check - November 2016

Cherry Valley-Springfield Reality Check Youth Advocates
Promote Seen Enough Tobacco Project for Great American Smoke Out


Every year, on the third Thursday of November, the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smoke Out (GASO) challenges people to stop using tobacco and provides an opportunity to advocate for tobacco control initiatives. During November 2016 Reality Check youth advocates at Cherry Valley-Springfield Central School collaborated with Advancing Tobacco Free Communities-Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties (RC/ATFC-DOS) staff to work on a GASO project highlighting the statewide ad campaign “Seen Enough Tobacco” . The teens used GASO to encourage the community to quit tobacco marketing so that their peers do not have to struggle to quit tobacco addiction.
Jacob and Jasmine Neill and Ahna Misiewicz placed a series of eye-catching lawn signs with alarming statistics about the impacts of tobacco marketing and tobacco use on New York youth along the school’s entrance driveway. As a new message was installed each day, 29 hand-shaped markers representing the 29 young people under age 18 who become new daily smokers each day in New York State were also placed. By November 17th, the date of the GASO, the border of the school’s driveway was overrun with 203 hand-shaped markers symbolizing the 203 young people under age 18 who become new daily smokers each week in New York State, 68 of whom are predicted to die from tobacco use. 
GASO Lawn Sign
A 2014 Surgeon General Report concluded that promotional activities by tobacco companies cause the onset and continuation of smoking among adolescents and young adults.  "We now have evidence to support what we've long believed to be true. Tobacco marketing in stores is a primary cause of youth smoking," said Regina Haig, Reality Check/Youth Engagement Coordinator for ATFC-DOS. "If we reduce kids' exposure to tobacco marketing, we can reduce youth tobacco use." Stores popular among adolescents contain almost three times more tobacco marketing materials compared to other stores in the same community.
In New York State, 73,700 high school students smoke cigarettes. Each year, 10,600 kids under 18 become new daily smokers and the average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13 years old. According to the 2014 Surgeon General’s report, if current smoking rates continue, 5.6 million Americans younger than 18 who are alive today are projected to die prematurely from smoking-related disease. Every adult who dies early because of smoking is replaced by two new, young smokers, one of whom also will die early from smoking.
ATFC-DOS works to build healthier communities where people live, learn, work and play. ATFC-DOS is funded by a grant from the New York State Bureau of Tobacco Control to the Research Foundation of SUNY at SUNY Cobleskill. ATFC-DOS works on a variety of initiatives to change the community environment to support New York State’s tobacco-free norm.
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