Oriskany SADD chapter partners with Reality Check


ORISKANY — BRiDGES Reality Check of Madison, Oneida and Herkimer counties and several of its statewide partners have launched Tobacco Free New York State’s 2022 “It’s Not Just” campaign.

The effort, the organization said, is intended to educate people across the state about the tobacco industry’s marketing and promotion of menthol-flavored tobacco products.

Among the Reality Check partners were student members of the Oriskany High School Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) group.

“Today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer,” reads a statement from the Oriskany SADD chapter in a recent BRiDGES announcement. “They’ll do anything to recruit new smokers, like using menthol flavors to make products smoother and better tasting, so they’re easier to start and harder to quit.”

SADD members wore green T-shirts through the school day, as well as shared messaging to their peers through morning announcements, showing the new It’s Not Just campaign videos.

According to the BRiDGES announcement, to mask the harshness of smoke, tobacco companies use flavor, like menthol, in their products to make them more appealing to new users, almost all of whom are under the age 18. “In fact, nearly 81% of youth who have ever tried tobacco started with a flavored product, and more than half (54%) of youth ages 12-17 years who smoke use menthol cigarettes.”

“However, menthol is not just a flavor. It attracts and addicts youth, making it easier for them to start and harder for them to quit,.” the announcement said….”And, it’s not just an injustice, it poses a serious health threat to today’s youth.”

Support is available for those who smoke and who would like to quit, the announcement said. The New York State Smokers’ Quitline is a confidential service for all New York State residents who wish to overcome tobacco use, including e-cigarettes.

Free offerings include individualized coaching and assistance with quit-planning from highly trained Quit Coaches, text and chat support, and free shipping of stop-smoking medications such as nicotine patches or
nicotine gum for those 18 and older.

Residents of all ages may contact the Quitline for support and educational materials. In addition, the Quitline encourages teens and young adults (ages 13-24) to text “DROPTHEVAPE” to 88709 to join This Is Quitting, a free texting support program for help with quitting vaping. Visit nysmokefree.com anytime for more information or call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) seven days a week, beginning at 9 a.m.

BRiDGES, Madison County Council on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse, Inc., is a not-for-profit prevention agency. For the past 35 years, BRiDGES has provided advocacy, resources, and services to our community, the workforce, families, and individuals through the delivery of prevention and intervention programs that promote change, strengthen families, and build healthy communities.

BRiDGES’ services have continued to evolve over time. For more information, see its website at www.bridgescouncil.org.


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