LUDLOW/SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Our youth are exposed to alcohol and tobacco advertising through a variety of venues, including the use of signage and displays in stores throughout Vermont. Advertising is commonly placed in locations to target youth, such as near candy displays. Alcohol and tobacco companies spend millions of dollars each year here in Vermont.
To celebrate local stores that have reduced advertising in 2021, the Black River Area Community Coalition of Ludlow completed the 2021 “Star Store Program.” This program recognizes retailers for protecting the youth in our community, either by not selling tobacco or alcohol; or not putting up tobacco or alcohol ads in or outside their stores.
Recently, the group completed 26 store assessments in the towns of Springfield and Ludlow. These assessments looked at both tobacco and alcohol marketing.
Twenty-four retailers in these towns were provided Star Store 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 CounterBalanceVT.org, “Retail stores are the primary place where tobacco companies recruit new tobacco users, and nearly 90% 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 misuse prevention organizations recognized the following eight stores for not advertising tobacco and alcohol products at all: Family Dollar, Springfield; JC’s Market & Deli, North Springfield; North Springfield Mobil; Brewfest, Ludlow; Green Mountain Sugar House, Ludlow; Rite Aid, Ludlow; Shaw’s Beer & Wine, Ludlow; and Wine & Cheese Shop, Ludlow.
Paul Faenza, executive director of BRACC, said, “We are happy to see so many stores showing that they are aware of the impact of tobacco and alcohol advertising on our youth. We are grateful that several of these stores have reduced their outdoor and indoor 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.”
For more information, please contact BRACC at 802-228-7878.