BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – According to the Centers for Disease Control and www.CounterBalanceVT.org, tobacco companies in America continue to use most of their marketing budgets placing ads in stores where their products are sold. Tobacco companies often use tactics such as placing advertisements where children can see them in order to target youth.
This World No Tobacco Sunday, May 31, Greater Falls Connections is celebrating local “Star Stores” who reduce tobacco access and advertising. The Star Store Program recognizes retailers for protecting youth in our community, either by not selling tobacco or alcohol, or by not putting up ads where children are likely to see them.
Greater Falls Connections completed store assessments in the towns of Rockingham and Westminster. These assessments looked at both tobacco and alcohol marketing. Six 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.
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.”
Greater Falls Connections recognizes the following four stores with a Gold Star for Tobacco. These stores do not sell or not advertise tobacco products: Greater Falls Pharmacy, Lisai’s Market, Little Lisai’s Corner Deli, and Vermont Country Store. Allen Brothers and Walgreens received a Silver Star for not having any advertising for either tobacco or alcohol.
“We are so thankful that the majority of retailers in our community are doing their part to protect youth by either not selling or not advertising these products,” says Greater Falls Connections Director Laura Schairbaum. “This is so important because nearly half of Vermont high school students have tried electronic nicotine products – with a quarter actively using them – and 1 in 5 have tried traditional cigarettes. We hope the community will join us in celebrating and congratulating managers and staff when they see a Star Store sticker in these locations.”
Retailers that are interested in learning more and how to qualify for a Star Store certificate can contact Deb Witkus at Greater Falls Connections at 802-463-9927 x 212.