Boston, MA - East Boston Neighborhood Against Substance Abuse (EBNASA) awarded their first Community Champion Award to Boston Police Captain Frank Mancini and his officers at District A-7 for stopping the illegal sale of tobacco products to youth at a local East Boston convenience store through education and enforcement.
While it is prohibited to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18 in the United States, some store owners are either not informed or ignoring the law. What make this so dangerous, says the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, is that those who start smoking young are more likely to have a long-term addiction to nicotine than people who start smoking later in life.
Tobacco companies understand this and actively market to youth with candy-flavored tobacco products in colorful packaging that are sometimes placed next to candy. Despite the dangers and rules against selling to youth, it is estimated that 6,300 Massachusetts youth become daily smokers each year with many trying their first cigarette in the sixth and seventh grades, or between the ages of 11 and 13.
To prevent initiation of tobacco use EBNASA is taking a comprehensive approach: increasing smoke-free areas, reducing the access and appeal of tobacco products, disseminating information about smoking cessation programs, and conducting a media campaign involving young people from around East Boston to inform adults and young people about the influence of tobacco in East Boston.
“Given the speed in which youth can get hooked and the efforts by tobacco companies to hook them, we need to do all we can to reduce their access to tobacco products,” said EBNASA’s coordinator and East Boston resident, Andrew Kenneally. “We applaud Captain Mancini and his officers for taking this issue seriously and for their work to make our neighborhood a safer and healthier place to live, work and raise a family.”
For more information on EBNASA, visit: http://ebnasa.org.
Photo from left to right: Pat Milano of EBNASA, Boston Police Captain Frank Mancini, Boston Police Officer Danny Simons, and Andrew Kenneally of EBNASA.