It is the start of a new school year for thousands of Queens children. As children are walking to school this semester, I think it is important to think about what they are passing by on their way to school.
Many neighborhood convenience stores place cigarette advertising at the eye level of young children. Cigarette marketing is more prevalent in stores where adolescents frequently shop, and in New York state the average consumer is exposed to more than 1,100 cigarette ads in stores every year.
Research has found that exposure to tobacco marketing in stores is a primary cause of smoking among youth. Often times, ads will be placed in store windows at a child’s height and near candy and toys, in the direct sight of youth, and will use colorful packaging in order to better market cigarettes to youth.
We have many laws protecting children’s health, such as child safety seats and bicycle helmets, but why is there no discussion of a ban on tobacco advertising that is aimed at youth?
This is something that needs to be rectified, and it starts with Queens residents. Parents and teachers should be talking to youth about these advertising ploys and Queens residents should start talking to convenience store owners about the terrible effects advertising has on our children.
The time to act is now.
North Shore-LIJ Health System
©2012 Community News Group
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