Monday, October 23, 2017


Reality Check Night at the First Arena during Jackals Game
Kick Butts Day – We’ve Seen Enough!

Elmira - The Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition (STTAC) youth program, Reality Check, and the Elmira Jackals partnered for this year’s Kick Butts Day celebration. Kick Butts Day is a national holiday focused on activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco.

“There is strong, consistent evidence that advertising and promotion influence the factors that lead directly to tobacco use by adolescents, including the initiation of cigarette smoking as well as its continuation” according to the Surgeon General’s report on Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults. Tobacco companies bombard retailers with tobacco marketing materials and promotions. Those stores are frequented by youth, and can heavily and prominently display tobacco products near cash registers and candy where youth will see them.

During the game on Saturday, local youth collected support for tobacco-free initiatives and educated the public on how we can help our community become healthier by restricting the amount of tobacco retail advertising. Reality Check youth also declared “We’ve Seen Enough” tobacco marketing and created visual displays of tobacco retailer density maps.

The U.S. Tobacco Industry spent an estimated $9.6 billion dollars on advertising and promotion of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in 2012. Although the Tobacco Control Act allows states and communities to restrict or regulate the time, place and manner of tobacco product marketing, data from the New York Youth Tobacco Survey finds that youth are being exposed to tobacco product marketing at an alarming rate. The survey data indicate that 85% of high school students were aware of tobacco related ads in convenience stores, supermarkets, gas stations or pharmacies in 2014. Awareness of pro-tobacco marketing via the internet was reported by 79% of high school students in 2014; in 2000 only 58% reported awareness of pro-tobacco marketing via the internet, a statistically significant increase between 2000 and 2014.

Although NYS youth smoking rates are at their lowest recorded rates, 12,900 youth under 18 become new daily smokers each year and 107,000 NYS high school students currently smoke. Today, there are now more forms of dangerous products to choose from, and many teens are choosing flavored cigars, smokeless tobacco, hookahs, pipes, and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes/vapor pens). Reality Check youth from across the state agree that their generation deserves to grow up free from tobacco industry marketing and promotion, but they need help to make that a reality in our communities.

If you would like to learn more about how you can help reduce the negative impact the tobacco marketing has on our community, or learn about other tobacco-related issues, contact the Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition (STTAC) at (607)737-2858 or visit

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