Why You Should Use ShopTobaccoFree.org To Support Tobacco-Free Retailers
I wanted to tell our readers about ShopTobaccoFree.org, a new website that launched to help you find out who in your community are Tobacco-Free Retailers, and those who are not. Let me share why this cause is near and dear to me and why it’s so important to shop tobacco-free!
Most people that know me now, can’t imagine that I ever smoked, but I did. This was the late 1980’s and I was in Winston-Salem for boarding school at Salem Academy and college at Wake Forest University. Both “Winston” and “Salem” are cigarette brands. The city’s economy centered around the highly successful R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. In fact the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation made very generous donations to my boarding school, as well as even giving the land and funds to move my college from Wake Forest, NC to the city. I remember running cross-country in high school breathing in the sweet smell of tobacco from the cigarette plants. Smoking was more than socially-acceptable – it was popular. I hardly stood a chance. I picked up the habit from friends of mine, and smoked more, and more cigarettes daily until by graduation I was smoking a pack a day.
Slowly, I became less active physically. Not running, or playing tennis. I got sick a lot. My health was not what it should have been. In 1995, I had graduated from college, was engaged to my first husband and hoped to have a family. When my gynecologist gave me a brochure from the American Lung Association it really inspired me to quit if not for myself – for the sake of my future children.
The brochure not only included information on the harm of smoking, but how your body regenerates itself once you quit. This really inspired me. The brochure also had tips on quitting which I followed such as placing limits on where I would allow myself to smoke, staying away from places or situations that would trigger me to smoke, and slowly cutting back each week. It’s funny, I never had children, but that maternal instinct and drive to procreate really was a blessing to me anyway. I am in much better shape and so much healthier in my early 40’s than I was in my early 20’s.
10 REASONS WHY SHOPPING TOBACCO FREE IS IMPORTANT
1. Tobacco use kills 480,000 Americans every year – more than 1,300 people every day.
2. Tobacco use costs our country at least $289 billion a year in health care bills and lost
3. Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and
4. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the human body and causes about one-third of
all deaths from cancer and heart disease, as well as 80 percent of deaths from chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (such as emphysema).
5. 90 percent of adult smokers began at or before age 18.
6. 5.6 million children alive today will die prematurely from smoking unless current trends
7. Every day, more than 2,800 U.S. kids try their first cigarette – that’s more than one million
kids who take their first puff each year.
8. An estimated 375,000 retail stores sell tobacco products in the U.S. The widespread
availability of tobacco products sends a terrible message to kids that tobacco use is
normal, acceptable and appealing.
9. Tobacco companies spend over 90 percent of their annual $8.8 billion marketing budget
at the point-of-sale in stores, and this marketing has been shown to increase youth
tobacco use. By ending tobacco sales, retailers can help reduce kids’ exposure to harmful
10. Exposure to tobacco products and marketing in stores has been shown to encourage
youth use of tobacco products and undermine smokers’ attempts to quit by prompting impulse purchases.
FIND TOBACCO-FREE RETAILERS
ShopTobaccoFree.org is great and makes it super easy to find out if a retailer is tobacco-free. Just click on FIND and type in your zip code and a map comes up!
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Once you know who is joining the fight, you can go to the Wall of Shame / Fame to thank Tobacco-Free Retailers or ask stores to consider going tobacco-free. I hope you will resolve to make an effort to shop tobacco-free. If so, feel free to follow this campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and be sure to use our #ShopTobaccoFree hastag.
– Miss A
** This post is sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. **