Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The haunting truth: Our kids are tricked into smoking
The most anticipated activity of Halloween, trick or treating, has become the favored tactic of the tobacco industry. Our kids are tricked into smoking for the promised treat of being cool or glamorous, but left with a nicotine addiction and ill health that haunts many for a lifetime.
The 2012 report, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General, concluded that tobacco industry marketing causes youth tobacco use. Research shows that kids see and respond to tobacco marketing messages in stores that adults don’t notice. The result of all this marketing is more than 22,000 New York kids under 18 become new daily smokers each year.
According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the tobacco industry spends $1 million a day in New York State to market its deadly products in stores. At almost every convenience store in New York State, kids are inundated with colorful tobacco displays surrounding the cash registers and tempted by cigarettes in candy colored packages. They pay retailers to display tobacco products in these highly visible locations where youth are continually exposed. Licensed tobacco retailers in New York State display an average of 18 ads per store and over 82 percent of retailers dedicate 50 percent or more of the merchandising space behind the counter to openly visible tobacco products.
According to the Surgeon General’s report, the environment kids live in matters too. Communities that allow the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products near schools have higher rates of youth tobacco use than do communities that have tobacco-free zones around schools. In addition, if teens don’t start smoking by age 18, they will likely never smoke which makes youth prevention so important.
Teen smoking remains a problem. According to the Surgeon General, 3.6 million middle and high school students currently smoke cigarettes.
“Team ACT, the tobacco cessation center at United Health Services has a tobacco cessation program for teens”, said Lisa Singleton, RN, Tobacco Treatment Specialist.” With parental permission, the teenager can speak directly to a tobacco treatment specialist for cessation advice. The phone number is 607-763-5091.”
UHS is a locally owned, not-for-profit, 916-bed hospital and healthcare system serving Greater Binghamton and surrounding counties. Founded in 1981, UHS provides a full range of medical, surgical, rehabilitative and long-term care services from more than 60 locations around New York’s Southern Tier.