Face Off Against Tobacco is a campaign designed to raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco and show support for increasing the price of these products, Studies show that tobacco price increases are one of the most effective ways to reduce the use of tobacco, especially among youth. With nearly 90% of smokers starting before the age of 18, raising the price of tobacco products is a critical step.
More than 222 MILLION packs of cigarettes are sold every year in Massachusetts.
What: Dozens of youth and adults throughout Boston are taking photographs of voters and supporters calling for an increase in tobacco taxes. We are sharing these photos and stories in an effort to demonstrate to our elected officials that supporters want the legislature to take action on this public health imperative. Many smokers are even in support of raising taxes to achieve this goal.
Why now: Governor Deval Patrick, Watertown State Representative Jonathan Hecht, and others have called for increasing the cigarette tax and taxes paid on ‘other tobacco products,’ known as OTPs. Tobacco price increases are one of the most effective ways to reduce the use of tobacco products, especially among youth. The relatively low prices of OTPs, which include smokeless tobacco and cigarillos, are especially dangerous because the tobacco companies market them in packaging and flavors designed to look like candy that are appealing to youth. The use of OTPs among high-school students has increased by more than 30% over the past five years.
Who we are: We are young people and adults working with the Boston Alliance for Community Health (BACH). BACH is a diverse city-wide partnership of neighborhood coalitions and over 50 community-based partners working together to address health disparities, improve a broad spectrum of health outcomes and achieve health equity.
While many legislators back higher tobacco taxes, others say that any tax increase is unacceptable to the public. We know that this isn’t true. Just take a look at the supporters pictured here and at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bostonalliance. Join us as we ask our elected officials to take a strong stance in support of higher tobacco taxes, as well as expanding access to smoking cessation programs and funding for tobacco control services.
We care because more than 600,000 middle school (8%) and 3 million high school students (22%) smoke.
We care because Massachusetts residents pay an average of $889/year in added health insurance costs to cover tobacco-related health care costs.
We care because over $4.3 billion a year is spent treating tobacco related illness in Massachusetts. This money should go to making our communities stronger—improving schools, creating safer streets and building more housing.
We care because smoking hurts us all.
HELP US SPREAD THE WORD!
Want to take some photos of supporters?
Contact Nancy Marks