Burnt Hills students hope to snuff out tobacco advertising

June 01, 2017 10:52 AM

BURNT HILLS - It's a small gesture in a battle with big tobacco. Students at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School spent "World No Tobacco Day" Wednesday placing pinwheels in front of the school. One-hundred forty-six of them. One for every New York teenager who becomes a regular smoker each week.

"We all know the harmful effects of smoking. We all know it shouldn't be done, but for some reason, it's still a problem," said Connor McClernan, vice president of the Burnt Hills chapter of Reality Check.

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The kids are trying to combat the billions of dollars of annual marketing and advertising that they say targets teens. They've successfully encouraged the town to make parks smoke-free and they're hoping the Town of Ballston will also help them snuff out signs at stores.

"When they're at the cash register and behind them is this huge power wall of tobacco products and the more kids see it, the more likely they are to start smoking," said Heather LaSalvia, Glens Falls Hospital's Reality Check program coordinator.

They also want Saratoga County to follow the lead of others including Schenectady and Albany counties, in making 21 the legal age to buy tobacco products.

"Really it's the right thing to do, raising the age from 18 to 21," Ballston Supervisor Tim Szczepaniak.

Raising the age is just another way to keep cigarettes and e-cigarettes out of the hands of Connor's classmates.

"It only takes you one cigarette to get you hooked for life. And you know it's something that's not worth it," said Connor.


Mark Mulholland

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