County supports end of tobacco marketing

By NICOLE ANTONUCCI

nicole.antonucci@recordernews.com

FONDA -- The Montgomery County Legislature passed a resolution Tuesday in support of ending tobacco marketing in retail establishments in the county.

The resolution, which was added during the meeting, followed a presentation by Susan Arminio, project coordinator for Project Action. She spoke about the initiative to put tobacco advertisements and products out of view of children.

"The tobacco marketing in stores is the primary cause of youth smoking," Arminio said, providing statistics.

It is estimated that 90 percent of smokers will smoke their first cigarette by the age of 18. In New York, 32,000 high school students smoke, and another 22,500 youth become new daily smokers.

Arminio said 80 percent of retailers devote most of their tobacco merchandise behind the counter, at eye level to children.

"This gives the impression that the products are accessible, and that tobacco use is acceptable," Arminio said.

Fulton County Board of Supervisors already passed a similar resolution, along with Hagaman.

Arminio said the goal is to educate the community, and proposes putting cards that read "This is tobacco marketing. Kids who see it are more likely to smoke. Our kids have had enough."

District 7 Legislator Barbara Wheeler said she was in support of the initiative, speaking on personal experience.

"I just lost my mother to COPD," Wheeler said.

The resolution was added to the end of the agenda, and was unanimously approved.

Project Action's mission is to systematically reduce tobacco use in Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery counties.

The organization works to prevent tobacco use among the youth, promote smoking cessation, and eliminate exposure to second-hand smoke.