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Tobacco-Free Onondaga County aims to make residents healthier

Tobacco marketers often package their products to look like candy, as shown here, drawing in kids as “replacement smokers” for adults who have either quit or died of tobacco-related disease.

Tobacco marketers often package their products to look like candy, as shown here, drawing in kids as “replacement smokers” for adults who have either quit or died of tobacco-related disease.

— In order to address the issue, TBOC focuses on three main initiatives to prevent youth tobacco use:

Point of Sale: Working to reduce the amount of tobacco product marketing in the retail environment.

“Point of sale is really the most important thing,” Shostack said. “If you can prevent kids from starting in the first place, it leads to fewer problems.”

TBOC has given presentations to local chambers of commerce in its efforts to address this problem. Part of the presentation is a slide show revealing how tobacco products are packaged to look like candy.

“When they see the pictures, it really grabs their attention,” Shostack said. “They’re always like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ Tobacco marketing is one of the only areas that’s not regulated in any way.”

But thanks to the Federal Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, local entities have the ability to do something about that. The law, passed in 2009, allows the Food & Drug Administration to regulate the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products. That means state and local governments can now legislate where, when and how tobacco products are sold and advertised.

Tobacco‐Free/Smoke‐Free Outdoors: Working with businesses and organizations throughout the community to eliminate tobacco use in outdoor areas; working with local municipalities to adopt policies or strengthen existing tobacco‐free policies on municipal grounds.

Many towns and villages have already passed local ordinances mandating that their parks remain smoke-free, as has Onondaga County, thanks to TBOC’s efforts.

“In our tobacco-free outdoor areas initiative, we’re trying to change social norms,” Shostack said. “They’re not seeing people smoking in these areas. Plus, we’re protecting kids and adults from the impact of secondhand smoke in parks and in the entryways to buildings.”

Smoke‐Free Housing: Encouraging apartment complexes, senior living homes, and other multi‐unit rental residences to prohibit the use of tobacco in their buildings and on their property.

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