REGION – According to the Centers for Disease Control and www.ConterBalanceVT.org, tobacco companies in America continue to place ads in the stores where their products are sold. The tobacco companies often use tactics such as placing advertisements where children can see them in order to target youth.
To celebrate local stores that have reduced advertising, four coalitions – Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition, Greater Falls Connections, Springfield Prevention Coalition, and West River Valley Thrives – have partnered through a new project called The Star Store Program. This program recognizes retailers for protecting the youth in our community, either by not selling tobacco or by not putting up tobacco ads where children are likely to see them.
Recently, the local coalitions completed 108 store assessments in the towns and villages of Bellows Falls, Brattleboro, Cambridgeport, Dummerston, Guilford, Jamaica, Marlboro, Newfane, Putney, Rockingham, Saxtons River, Springfield, Townshend, and Wardsboro. These assessments looked at both tobacco and alcohol marketing in stores.
Fifty-nine retailers in these towns are being provided Star Store certificates and window clings to promote their business as helping to reduce youth’s exposure to tobacco or alcohol products and marketing, which has shown to have a strong influence on underage use of tobacco and alcohol. According to www.CounterBalanceVT.org, “Retail stores are the primary place where tobacco companies recruit new tobacco users, and nearly 90 percent of those new users are underage youth. Youth exposure to tobacco marketing is directly correlated to youth tobacco use, with an estimated one-third of teenage smoking experimentation resulting from tobacco advertising.”
The substance abuse prevention coalitions recognized the following 19 stores with a Gold Star for not selling and not advertising tobacco products: Dutton Farm Stand, Hogback Mountain Gift Shop, North Country General Store, Greater Falls Pharmacy, Little Lisai’s Corner Deli, Vermont Country Store, Grafton Village Store, Harlow’s Farm Stand, Springfield Co-op, Putney Co-op, Putney General Store, Basketville, Market 32/Price Chopper, Green Mountain Market and Deli, Windham Wines, Brattleboro Food Co-op, Vermont Country Deli, Aldi, Hotel Pharmacy, and Brattleboro Pharmacy.
Scott Sharland, program specialist with Greater Falls Connections, said, “We are happy to see so many stores showing that they are aware of the impact of tobacco advertising on our youth. We are grateful that several of these stores have reduced their outdoor tobacco advertising. This change is good for both our youth and our businesses. When customers see a Star Store sticker on the door of a business, we hope that they will let the store manager know how much they appreciate what the store is doing for our youth.”
Brattleboro Pharmacy, Family Dollar, Lisa Lisai’s Corner Deli, Greater Falls Pharmacy, and Springfield Co-op are receiving a gold star for not selling and not advertising alcohol products.
There were a large number of stores throughout the area receiving either silver or bronze stars. A silver star lets customers know that the store does not have any advertising for either tobacco or alcohol. A bronze star shows that the retailer does not have any outdoor advertising for either tobacco or alcohol. Stores that are interested in qualifying for a Star Store certificate can contact their local coalition to find out more about program.