As the saying goes: "A picture is worth a thousand words." When it comes to tobacco marketing, a picture can be worth billions of dollars to the tobacco industry, cost $8 billion in health care costs, and thousands upon thousands of preventable deaths.
According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, "In New York state, the tobacco industry spends about $1 million per day to market its products." Tobacco marketing is in convenience stores, gas stations, pharmacies and grocery stores. Tobacco products are displayed in the most visible location in stores, which is behind the check-out counter. Educating the youth about tobacco is the first measure.
Community partnerships and coalition members educate community leaders and the public about the dangers and social costs of tobacco use, and foster community environments that are supportive of policy change to restrict the tobacco industry's presence, denormalize tobacco use and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke. For further information regarding what can be done in our own community, please visit www.projectactionhfm.org.
MARYANN DIGNAZIO LOUISON,
prevention educator, Catholic Charities of