Since 2003, an untold number of lives have been saved in New York state due to the passage of the Clean Indoor Air Act. This historic 2003 law prohibited smoking inside almost all workplaces, bars, restaurants, bowling facilities, taverns and bingo halls in New York state protecting millions of New Yorkers from exposure to second-hand smoke. New York was the second state, after Delaware, to pass a comprehensive clean indoor air law.
Today, our kids deserve similar protection from tobacco industry marketing in retail stores that entices them to start smoking. The U.S. Surgeon General characterizes youth smoking as a pediatric epidemic, with more than 3.6 million youths currently smoking cigarettes. The Surgeon General also states the evidence is clear that tobacco industry marketing is a cause of youth smoking, since most start before they reach the age of 18. The tobacco product marketing displays that youths see in stores give them the impression that tobacco products are easily accessible and tobacco use is acceptable.
We need to protect our kids. Visit www.tobaccofreenys.org for more information about ongoing efforts to reduce tobacco use and protect kids from tobacco marketing.
SARAH KRAEMER, program coordinator,
Reality Check, Catholic Charities of Fulton & Montgomery Counties