Does Big Tobacco Want YOUR Children? Tobacco-Free BMX Event at Lanier Field September 24Sep 20th, 2011 | By Submitted | Category: Community News
In an effort to reduce youth initiation into tobacco use, Tobacco Free Madison is hosting the Freestyle Connection, a spectacular BMX bike show Saturday, Sept. 24, at Lanier Field from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Freestyle Connection will give two performances, one starting at 10 a.m. and the other starting at noon. This group came to town the last couple of years and performed shows for standing-room-only crowds. As well as entertaining the crowds with jaw-dropping stunts, the Freestyle Connection helps promote good decision making like wearing your bike helmet and being above the influence of Big Tobacco’s marketing that attracts youth.
If you’re young (underage is fine) with a whole lifetime ahead of you, Big Tobacco has made it a lot easier to get past those awkward, unpleasant experiences many have with their first trials of tobacco use. Big Tobacco is using candy-flavored tobacco products wrapped in bright, attractive packaging that draws the attention of rookie tobacco users. Some of the chemicals in these specially flavored products have been manipulated so that they don’t cause the nauseous feeling commonly associated with initial tobacco use. The more pleasant of an experience for those just testing the waters, the easier it is for novice users to be drawn into a lifetime of expensive addiction to Big Tobacco’s products, lining its corporate pockets with their hard-earned money.
The flow of money does not stop there. Vast sums of money are then required to address the life-long impacts of tobacco-related illness and lost productivity over one’s lifetime; large portions of that money are paid by non-tobacco-using taxpayers, an approximate 4 to 1 majority.
Flavored cigarettes, other than menthols, were banned by the FDA in 2009; cigarettes being the most common/preferred form of nicotine delivery making up nearly 90% of the tobacco market. The FDA did not restrict the sale of other flavored products like cigars, cigarillos, blunt wraps and smokeless products, like dip and chew. Marketing of products not covered by the FDA ban has increased greatly since 2009. Communities are now working to restrict the sale of these flavored products at a grass roots level.
Tobacco companies are not legally allowed to market their products directly toward youth, so they deny that the chocolate-chip-cookie-dough-flavored blunt wraps in the cute, colorful packages are aimed at teenagers and young people. Such marketing campaigns, they claim, are directed at smoking adults in general, of all ages. Other common flavored products include peach flavored dip, grape flavored cigars and pina colada flavored blunt wraps.
Tobacco Free Madison wants to reduce young people’s initiation into a lifetime of tobacco addiction and thereby reduce the impacts of tobacco use in Madison County. By pulling aside the curtain on the tobacco corporations’ marketing ploys and letting the young people and parents see to what lengths these companies are willing to go to get teenaged consumers hooked, addicted and subsequently get their dollars, the Freestyle Connection and Tobacco Free Madison hope that Madison’s young people will make informed decisions. Teens can invest in their future by choosing a long, healthy, tobacco-free life rather than opting for the statistically shorter life of a smoker, which averages over 12 years less than non-smokers. “Studies show that almost 90% of adult tobacco users began using before age 18. So, if we can prevent initiation through 18, the odds are in our favor” says Tobacco Prevention Specialist, Doug Freer, of the Madison County Health Department.
Healthy Start will be on hand at Lanier Field with a limited number of bicycle helmets in various sizes for those who are interested. The Whole Child Connection will be on site as well, helping parents and youth link to needed resources.
Come on out and join the crowds at Lanier Field for a fun-filled and informative event. Check out tobaccofreeflorida.com for more information on tobacco prevention resources and free help to quit.