Letter to the Editor
Published 12:10 a.m., Friday, September 23, 2011
Times Union

Last month, five of the major tobacco companies in the United States filed suit in federal court to overturn provisions of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act relating to advertising and marketing displays in retail stores. The companies are arguing that their constitutional rights are being violated. Maybe what they are really concerned about is being allowed to continue to promote smoking unimpeded to youths.

Research in the United States and abroad suggests that exposure to in-store tobacco promotions is a primary cause of youth smoking. Ninety percent of adult smokers start at or before age 18.

This summer, six tobacco-free organizations in the Capital Region contracted with Siena Research Institute to conduct a survey on smoking issues across the 17 counties they represent. The results might surprise the tobacco companies.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents support passage of a law in New York similar to one in Ontario, Canada, that requires that no person shall display or permit the display of tobacco products anywhere tobacco is sold. Already in the Capital Region, Price Chopper and Hannaford have or are beginning to voluntarily remove tobacco products from display.

The results are indisputable. Capital Region residents no longer want to be bombarded with tobacco imagery and would rather have tobacco products completely out of sight where they shop. Maybe it’s time that tobacco companies stopped arguing and started listening.

Matthew Andrus
Media and Communications Coordinator
Southern Adirondack Tobacco-Free Coalition
Saratoga Springs