Trust the process (aka: Afraid for the kids at Harry Street)

Yesterday was the deadline to submit public comments about the FDA’s proposed deeming regulations that would have them exert authority over “other tobacco products” like nasty, kid-friendly cigarillos, e-cigarettes, and roll your own tobacco. (Thanks, TFK for compiling some comments here.) The FDA has a process. It’s a process so complicated that on-the-ground tobacco prevention advocates say “it’ll take YEARS” until we have any actual federal-level rules, and that may be true. Still, however, the process is moving forward.

In the meantime, let’s think about taking action at home first, at the local level.

The process of local-level change starts when people like you and me are vocal about a problem that matters. Check this out, it’s an image from the Wichita, Kansas Store Mapper, built by Counter Tools for their local tobacco prevention coalition:

An image downloaded from the Wichita Store Mapper: Harry Street Elementary School has four tobacco retailers within 1000 feet of the school (walking distance), which likely increases children’s exposure to tobacco marketing and product displays, which can lead to tobacco use initiation. An implication of this is to engage local parents and children in tobacco prevention efforts.
Harry Street Elementary School has four tobacco retailers within 1000 feet of the school (walking distance), which likely increases children’s exposure to tobacco marketing and product displays, which can lead to tobacco use initiation.

Imagine if your kid was starting school at Harry Street Elementary School in the fall, where there are four tobacco retailers within easy walking distance?

Kids at Harry Street Elementary are probably exposed to higher levels of tobacco marketing and product displays – each day as they go to and from school. This higher exposure to tobacco marketing, over time, makes them more likely to start smoking as a young person, which may make them more likely to keep smoking into adulthood, which then makes them more likely to get sick and die unnecessarily from a product that is designed to addict.

Are you happy that a kid you love is headed to Harry Street? We have a clear problem, dear friends. I believe that’s the first step in the process.

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