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October 13 Declared “Seen Enough Tobacco Day” in NYS

New York State Reality Check youth declared October 13 as the first ever “Seen Enough Tobacco Day”. The designated tobacco-free day, which will become an annual observance in the state, is an effort to help raise awareness and encourage community members to stand up to eliminate tobacco marketing and advertising in places where youth can see them.

Locally Reality Check youth advocates recorded radio messages that WIOX (Roxbury) and WSDE (Cobleskill) aired to educate community members about the need to reduce tobacco marketing’s influence on youth. They also posted a series of educational lawn signs and pinwheels in Veterans Memorial Centre Park in the Village of Cobleskill, Timothy Murphy Park in the Village of Middleburgh and Veteran’s Park in the Village of Stamford further highlighting tobacco issues to the public and shared photos of the lawn signs on social media using #SeenEnoughTobacco. Parents, community leaders and others interested in protecting youth continue to be encouraged to sign the Seen Enough Tobacco online petition at to pledge their support.

“Reality Check is a group of teens all around New York State who work to expose the manipulative and deceptive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry,” said Ahna Misiewicz, a Reality Check youth advocate from Cherry Valley-Springfield Central School. “It’s hard to believe that tobacco companies spend an estimated 9.6 billion dollars a year to advertise and promote cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. That’s $602,000 every day in New York State.”

According to Ava Valetutto, a Reality Check youth advocate from Sharon Springs Central School, “The average age of a new smoker is 13 and we know that tobacco marketing causes young people to start smoking. Just ask the U.S. Surgeon General. That’s why we are fighting against the tobacco industry’s influence on youth.”

“As young people, we are vulnerable, and tobacco industry marketing takes advantage of that. For example, stores popular among adolescents contain almost three times more tobacco marketing materials compared to other stores in the same community,” said Brea Fyfe, a Reality Check youth advocate from the Oneonta Community Christian School.

Jasmine Neill, another Cherry Valley Reality Check member added, “We’ve seen enough tobacco marketing. We need to make changes in our communities so that smoking is not the norm and we can build tobacco-free generations.”

Reality Check empowers youth to become leaders in their communities in exposing the influence of tobacco industry marketing on youth tobacco use. The organization’s members produce change in their communities through grassroots mobilization and education. Reality Check in Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties is the youth action component of Advancing Tobacco Free Communities (ATFC-DOS). Ms. Regina Haig is the Reality Check/Youth Engagement Program Coordinator with ATFC-DOS.

ATFC-DOS educates the community and decision makers, mobilizes community members around problems that tobacco addiction causes in local communities, and helps decision makers understand the types of choices that they have to address these problems. Efforts are evidence-based, policy-driven and cost effective approaches that decrease youth tobacco use, motivate adult smokers to quit and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke. For further information, individuals may contact 518-255-5364.