The evidence is overwhelming. The more kids see tobacco, the more likely they are to start smoking. To help their communities see the injustice of this truth,  Reality Check teens from Western New York joined their fellow youth champions across New York State in celebrating Seen Enough Tobacco Day on October 13. 

 Seen Enough Tobacco Day is part of the overall statewide “Seen Enough Tobacco” movement (seenenoughtobacco.org) focused on putting an end to youth smoking and other tobacco use.

Findings on youth tobacco use and tobacco marketing in places where children and young adolescents can see it indicate:

  • The average age of a new smoker in New York is 13 years old, and 90 percent of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18.
  • The U.S. tobacco industry spent an estimated $9.5 billion on advertising and promotion of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in 2013. This includes nearly $220 million annually in New York State, or nearly $602,000 a day.
  • Stores popular among adolescents contain almost three times more tobacco marketing materials compared to other stores in the same community.

While we’ve Seen Enough Tobacco, we can never See Enough of our Reality Check teens and their intense passions. Here are some pictures of the events they participated in to teach their community members about the dangers of tobacco use, as well as ways they can work toward being a tobacco free generation:

While their teams battled on the football field, Reality Check members from Hutch Tech and Lockport built awareness on tobacco promotion.
Lockport Reality Check members tabled at their school’s Parent-Teacher conference. Their handouts were educational and yummy.
Ben Streeter and Krysta Hansen cupped the fence to show their fellow Notre Dame students and community members how fed up they are with the tobacco industry.

To learn more about Reality Check, and how you can start or join a program in your school or community, contact [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected].