ALBANY, NY (04/17/2012)(readMedia)-- The American Lung Association in New York and POW'R Against Tobacco today praised the Village of Haverstraw in Rockland County for passing the first local law in the nation to restrict tobacco product displays in retail environments that are open to children. Under the provisions of the law, retailers who sell products to children and openly display tobacco products would face fines of up to $500 for the first violation. Through this new law, the Village seeks to reduce the number of adolescents and young adults who experiment with tobacco and risk becoming addicted to a substance known to cause significant health problems including lung disease, cancer and premature death.
"We know that the more often our kids are exposed to tobacco products the more likely they are to smoke," said Jeff Seyler, President and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. "In passing this forward- thinking law, the Village of Haverstraw has taken a step forward toward preventing the next generation of youth from becoming addicted to a product that leads to disease and premature death."
"We are hoping that this historic vote will ignite a domino effect of tobacco product display restrictions around the state and country," said Maureen Kenney, Director of POW'R Against Tobacco. "The Village of Haverstraw Mayor and Board of Trustees are to be commended for their efforts in reducing youth smoking rates."
Kenney said that Denise Hogan from POW'R Against Tobacco and Alana Boutelle from the Rockland County Health Department' s Reality Check program have been working with local community advocates for several years to demonstrate wide community support for the new law. A local survey conducted by POW'R Against Tobacco showed that a decisive 77% of Rockland residents support the idea of requiring stores to keep all cigarette packs and other tobacco displays out of the sight of children. A majority of every group-including smokers-agrees.
Seyler noted that the recently issued report by the U.S. Surgeon General Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults concluded that prevention efforts must focus on both adolescents and young adults. The report noted that among adults who become daily smokers, 88% first use cigarettes by the time they reach 18 years of age and 99% first use them by the time they reach 26 years of age. The report further found that advertising and promotional activities by tobacco companies have been shown to cause the onset and continuation of smoking among adolescents and young adults.
Tobacco product display bans in other countries such as Canada, Ireland and Norway have been an effective means of reducing youth smoking.
"This is a law whose time has come," said Seyler. "We hope that the action taken by the Village of Haverstraw will inspire other municipalities in New York and across the nation to pass tobacco product display restrictions that will help keep our kids free from becoming addicted to these deadly products."
About the American Lung Association in New York
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association in New York is the leading statewide organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, or to support our work, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lungne.org.
About POW'R Against Tobacco:
POW'R Against Tobacco is a community partnership coalition made up of organizations and private citizens who live or work in Putnam County NY, Orange County NY, Westchester County NY and Rockland County NY. Dedicated to reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and other tobacco related illnesses, POW'R Against Tobacco works to lower the prevalence of tobacco use, advertising, sponsorship and promotion through education, media and advocacy.