By: Amber Valenzuela
California Health Collaborative – San Bernardino County Tobacco Control Program
ADELANTO – At the Wednesday night Adelanto City Council meeting, members of the Adelanto Advocates Countering Tobacco in Our Neighborhood (ACTION) Youth Coalition approached the new council about concerns associated with youth access to tobacco in Adelanto.
A recent decoy operation conducted by the ACTION Coalition in partnership with the California Health Collaborative found that four of the eleven tobacco retailers visited in the city sold tobacco products to youth under the legal purchasing age of 21. In addition, 100 percent of the tobacco products obtained by the youth were flavored products. The youth expressed that “tobacco is the #1 cause of preventable death in the United States. Tobacco kills more people than AIDs, alcohol, motor vehicles, homicides, illegal drugs and suicide combined! Who do you think Big Tobacco is targeting with these flavors that mask the harsh taste of tobacco and give a misconception that they are safe? Youth, that’s who.”
In 2016, California passed SB X2-7 (Ed Hernandez) raising the minimum tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21. During the survey, products purchased included flavored little cigars and cigarillos from brands such as Swisher Sweets and White Owl.
“Tobacco products are highly addictive and potentially deadly. The fact that our children are able to access these products so easily within this community is very alarming to me. The ACTION youth are excited to be educating people, making them aware of the dangers of tobacco use. Their passion and commitment to help show the power our youth can have in facilitating change,” said Brenda Landry, English teacher at Adelanto High School and advisor for the ACTION Coalition.
“Before we conducted the operations I felt like no retailer would sell to me after showing them my id. When we finished, I was shocked to find out that half of the retailers here in Adelanto sold to me despite being underage. These results show how much work needs to be done to make Adelanto a healthy community for teens my age,” said a youth decoy, member of the ACTION Coalition.
For more information on flavored tobacco and youth access, visit www.flavorshookkids.org
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