This post was sponsored by Tobacco Free New York State as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
I’m gonna admit it ya’ll. I’ve become one of THOSE parents. The parent that’s wondering why all these unaccompanied children are crowding the inside and outside of the store. I’m side-eyeing the junior high kids using “bad words”. The parent that is watching and listening to every single thing that other people’s kids are doing. I can’t help it. I’m protective of our children. So more than I’m annoyed about the fact that they’re in the way while my 4 year old is trying to put his little dollar on the counter for his juice and chips. I’m annoyed that while they’re in there minding their business and buying up the whole store they’re exposed to tobacco products at every freakin’ turn. I’ve SEEN ENOUGH TOBACCO!.
The Back Story
It’s always funny to see yourself in your children. Ya’ll know I’m a snacker. I love food and I talk about it frequently via social. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that when I was a kid, I spent most of my allowance money on snacks. It was REALLY lit when I got to junior high school and I was taking the bus to school by myself (different times people). I loved going into the store by my school and picking out all the snacks I needed for the day. In my junior high school autograph book there are multiple notes about people loving me because I shared my snacks with them. GO FIGURE!
So it’s hilarious that for RJ (who is only in preschool) stopping at the store on the way home is an important part of his daily routine. Snacks must be had before homework. Sometimes he does come home with a snack from school, but if not you better believe we are making that stop. If only snacks cost the same today as they did when I was in junior high/high school!
Seen Enough Tobacco
The average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13 years old. Let that sink in. That means when your junior high school child is stopping into the store to buy their morning snacks, some of their classmates are buying cigarettes. If you live in NYC then you know how some of these stores are, it’s not unbelievable). Even worse, from 2014-2018 e-cigarette use grew 160% among high school students. Our kids have access to cigarettes and vapes and all kinds of products.
Young people are almost twice as likely as adults to recall tobacco advertising, and it makes them more likely to smoke. In-store advertising near schools and in low-income neighborhoods is particularly effective. The bottom line is, tobacco marketing is literally in the face of those most vulnerable to it. Tobacco companies are spending billions to put their products in front of our kids in stores. I have no problem with being the voice to say enough is enough. We have to make New York a healthier place to live and play for our children’s sake.
I want my children to be able to go to the store without tobacco being marketed right to them. I’m taking the pledge at Tobacco Free New York State. Sign up now and take the pledge. Our children deserve it.