SEEN ENOUGH

Kids learn about dan­gers of to­bacco prod­ucts

The Record (Troy, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Glenn Griffith ggrif­fith@sarato­gian.com

“We’re hav­ing this event to make sure young peo­ple are get­ting this kind of in­for­ma­tion.” — Re­al­ity Check’s Cara Zampi

TROY, N.Y. >> A statewide youth ad­vo­cacy pro­gram Satur­day part­nered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Cap­i­tal Area to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion to young peo­ple to help them see and un­der­stand the dan­gers of us­ing to­bacco prod­ucts.

Re­al­ity Check of NY held their “Seen Enough To­bacco Day” pro­gram across the state Oct. 13. The pro­gram for the Cap­i­tal Re­gion was held at the Troy Boys & Girls Club, lo­cated at 10, 7th Ave.

The Oct. 13 date was specif­i­cally se­lected by Re­al­ity Check NY be­cause, ac­cord­ing to their fig­ures, data proves the av­er­age age of the new daily smoker is 13.

Join­ing Re­al­ity Check of NY and the Boys and Girls Club were sev­eral other groups that used demon­stra­tions, games, and dis­play boards to pro­vide vivid in­for­ma­tion on the to­bacco in­dus­try’s large cig­a­rette mar­ket­ing cam­paign, its in­hal­ing de­vices, and their new fla­vors.

Through games, raf­fles, comic pre­sen­ta­tions, ex­per­i­ments and live mu­si­cal per­for­mances about 50 young peo­ple re­ceived a primer on how and why the to­bacco in­dus­try sees them as po­ten­tial cus­tomers.

“We’re hav­ing this event to make sure young peo­ple are get­ting this kind of in-

for­ma­tion,” said Re­al­ity Check’s Cara Zampi. “And, we want to stop high school kids from hav­ing ac­cess to to­bacco prod­ucts.”

“There is a dif­fer­ence in the age at which kids can buy to­bacco prod­ucts in Al­bany County and Rens­se­laer County,” said Troy Boys and Girls Club Teen Co­or­di­na­tor and Out­reach Co­or­di­na­tor Ta­fari Harper.

In Al­bany County and Sch­enec­tady County the age is 21. In Rens­se­laer County it is still 18.

“We don’t al­low smok­ing in the club or on the

grounds,” he said. “Over the sum­mer I saw three teens be­tween the ages of 14 and 16 with Jools. I didn’t con­fis­cate them. I got all the kids in the pro­gram to­gether, about 25 kids, and spoke to them about the dan­gers of us­ing to­bacco prod­ucts. I’m a for­mer smoker. I know how hard it is to quit.”

The goals of Re­al­ity Check of NY are to ex­pose the ma­nip­u­la­tive and de­cep­tive mar­ket­ing tac­tics of the to­bacco in­dus­try, pro­duce change in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties through grass­roots mo­bi­liza­tion and ed­u­ca­tion and em­power youth to see they are more than just re­place­ment smok­ers for the to­bacco in­dus­try.

“The goal of to­day, and it’s go­ing on statewide with other part­ners, is to pro­tect the youth from start­ing to smoke when they’re young and to give them the in­for­ma­tion part,” Zampi said. “The to­bacco in­dus­try is tar­get­ing young peo­ple to re­place the older smok­ers.”

One group rep­re­sented in the Boys and Girls Club gym Satur­day was Girls Inc. At the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s demon­stra­tion ta­ble Molly Bis­ceglia, a high school sopho­more, pro­vided any­one who walked up with two vivid ex­am­ples of what smok­ing does to the body.

One demon­stra­tion showed how smok­ing af­fects a per­son’s lungs. The ma­te­ri­als used were a pa­per cof­fee fil­ter, a cup of clean wa­ter and a ta­ble­spoon of mo­lasses.

“See how long it takes for the wa­ter to clear the fil­ter once the mo­lasses is spread on it,” Bis­ceglia said. “The mo­lasses rep­re­sents the tar from to­bacco and the fil­ter is your lungs.”

The event drew the in­ter­est of Rens­se­laer County Leg­is­la­tor Kim Ashe McPher­son. An ex-smoker her­self and one who lost her hus­band to lung can­cer, Ashe McPher­son saw the “Seen Enough To­bacco” event as some­thing in line with her own think­ing.

“The best thing you can do is ed­u­cate them,” she said. “If you raise the age to buy them, they’ll get it some­where else. The more you ed­u­cate them, the more the kids will re­al­ize that smok­ing is not good for you. I’m all for this and for these types of events. I know. I’m out here in the com­mu­nity, boots on the ground.”

The “Seen Enough To­bacco Day” event in­cluded a light-hearted yet pointed ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion with prizes, face paint- ing, mu­si­cal per­for­mances from Esco Van Gogh (aka Na­scier Jones) and the dance group, Raw Gen, and a late af­ter­noon meal.

In one fi­nal show-n-tell ex­er­cise Zampi said that the to­bacco in­dus­try spends $199 mil­lion a year in the state on mar­ket­ing its prod­ucts to teens.

“That’s more than the amount spent on junk food, al­co­hol and soda com­bined,” she told the young au­di­ence.

GLENN GRIFFITH — GGRIF­FITH@DIGITALFIRSTMEDIA.COM

Molly Gis­ceglia of Girls Inc., right, demon­strates to­bacco’s ef­fects on the lungs to Irene Nguyen-McDow­ell, left, and Satya Groff, cen­ter.

The mem­bers of the mu­si­cal group Raw Gen demon­strates some moves as part of “Seen Enough To­bacco Day” at the Troy Boys and Girls Club.

GLENN GRIFFITH — GGRIF­FITH@DIGITALFIRSTMEDIA.COM

Au­di­ence mem­bers take part in an au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion seg­ment at “Seen Enough To­bacco Day” at the Troy Boys and Girls Club

Esco (Na­scier Jones) pro­vided some fancy moves along with his rap­ping at the “Seen Enough To­bacco Day” event at the Troy Boys and Girls Club

A few free items from Seen Enough To­bacco Day

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