Corner stores are unnoticeable now; they are covered in tobacco marketing! One may question: Is it a grocery store or a tobacco store? I feel targeted by tobacco companies on a daily basis.
The cigarette boxes and ads are decorated with vibrant colors and eye-catching images. Cigarettes pop off the walls while the candy and snacks fade into the background. Three out of four tobacco retailers in the city are located within a few blocks of a school. As a result of attractive tobacco marketing being in close proximity to schools, people are smoking at younger ages.
We need to greatly reduce young people’s exposure to tobacco marketing that targets them. The Queens Smoke-Free Partnership is working to protect Queens youth. But the Partnership cannot do it alone. We need a movement. We need a range of individuals who are motivated to create a healthy environment for all.
The writer is a high school senior.