I would like to acknowledge the story printed on January 4, 2012, entitled “New Yorkers can expect to live even longer.” It was a positive article, and gave us New Yorkers many reasons to rejoice.
One of the points that I found most encouraging was that there has been a 35 percent decrease in the number of smokers in New York City since 2002. The article attributes this in large part to the “aggressive anti-smoking efforts on the part of the Bloomberg administration.” It seems like this administration, as well as regular citizens, are in a constant battle against Big Tobacco’s marketing machine.
While encouraging, the 35 percent decrease points to the number of smokers that have stopped, but what about those who are just starting? The CDC reports that every day over 4,000 adolescents try their first cigarette. This is due in part to Big Tobacco’s advertising at the point of sale – the counters at our local bodegas and pharmacies – that target our youth, daily.
These ads are pervasive throughout our Brooklyn communities. We need to support our local pharmacies that don’t sell tobacco products and we need to ask our local stores to remove or cover Big Tobacco’s ads.
It’s up to every member of each community to ensure that our youth don’t start smoking in the first place.
James T. Skay, Jr.