Local youth from Glen Cove High School are speaking out and standing up to the tobacco industry in an effort to end tobacco use once and for all. Our efforts are part of National ”Kick Butts” Day.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids sponsors “Kick Butts Day” each year as part of this national day of youth activism nationally, and around the world. Today, we are adding our voices to those other youth from around the country to voice our concerns about tobacco marketing and the impact it has on our Glen Cove and surrounding community.
Tobacco use is still a major problem in New York State and we want to be the generation that ends it. We know that tobacco marketing at retail locations is a primary cause of youth smoking and we’re asking for help from our community leaders to join with us and declare, “Enough is Enough.”
“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. In New York State, 108,500 high school students smoke cigarettes and each year more than 13,500 kids under 18 become new daily smokers,” per Carol Meschkow, Nassau County Community Engagement Coordinator for the Tobacco Action Coalition of LI.
According to Dr. Sharon Harris, Executive Director of Glen Cove SAFE Coalition, “a study released recently by the American Cancer Society has found that smoking’s toll on health is even worse than previously thought. The study found five additional diseases attributable to smoking and estimated that an additional 60,000 people die every year in the U.S. due to tobacco use, bringing the total annual death toll to 540,000.” Local needs assessment data that surveyed students use obtained in 2014 indicated that lifetime cigarette use continues to rise into the 10th grade (18.8 percent) and 12th grade (39.3 percent).
“Smoking kills and we’ve got to protect impressionable kids from these dangers, and that’s why the physical education and athletic department for the Glen Cove School District is particularly concerned and encourages our impressionable youth to take a stand and speak out for themselves. It is encouraging when students advocate for causes that they believe in such as challenging local pharmacies to re-consider the display of deceptive tobacco marketing promotions,” said Anthony Gallo, GCHS health teacher.
In New York State, 82 percent of retailers including pharmacies, convenience stores and gas stations occupy at least half of the space behind the checkout counter to openly display tobacco products for all of our purview. We’ve seen enough tobacco marketing, and we are banding together with the same message that we want to be the first generation to be tobacco free.
For more information about the harmful effects of tobacco marketing in retail stores, visit: www.seenenoughtobacco.org.
For more information about SAFE Glen Cove Coalition visit SAFE Inc. at: www.safeglencove.org.
Glen Cove High School Student Leaders