Reality Check (RC) youth from Olean, Falconer, Fillmore, Batavia and Warsaw declared Tuesday, October 13, 2020 as the fourth annual Seen Enough Tobacco (SET) Day. Their actions encouraged their communities to protect children from the billions of dollars of tobacco marketing in places where kids can see it. The 13th was selected to underscore the alarming fact that the average age of a new smoker in New York is 13 years old.
To accentuate that they have seen enough of Big Tobacco’s deceptive tactics and marketing, RC youth extended SET Day to a weeklong celebration and awareness building campaign on social media. Youth leaders dubbed it SET Spirit Week.
Youth agree that New York State’s recent ban on flavored e-cigarettes is a significant step toward reducing youth tobacco use. Yet other flavored tobacco products, such as little cigars, chew and menthol cigarettes, still on the market, present an obstacle to decreasing tobacco use among young people and minority populations.
Menthol use among Black communities is a direct result of the tobacco industry’s marketing practices and product manipulation. Tobacco companies add menthol to make cigarettes seem less harsh and more appealing to new smokers and young people. Essentially, menthol in tobacco products, makes it easier to start and harder to quit.
Research indicates that:
- Young people and African Americans are more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes than other groups.
- More than half (54%) of youth who smoke menthol cigarettes.
- Over 7 out of 10 African American youth ages 12-17 years who smoke use menthol cigarettes.
Because one day is not enough to educate communities on the misleading tactics of the tobacco industry, Reality Check youth made October 13-October 16, 2020, Seen Enough Tobacco Spirit Week on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.