Preventing Youth Addiction News Spring 2017.....
by Richard Halstead
There has been a significant increase in the number of Marin stores selling electronic smoking devices over the past three years, and more Marin stores are selling flavored, non-cigarette tobacco products, according to a new statewide survey. Read more hear....
The survey also found that nearly 63 percent of Marin stores that sell alcohol are selling alcopops — flavored alcoholic beverages that appeal to children — despite the Board of Supervisors’ resolution passed in 2012 to encourage Marin’s more than 200 liquor license holders to voluntarily stop marketing alcopops.
The data are included in the 2016 Healthy Stores Healthy Communities Retail Survey, a 10-year statewide study of 7,100 stores, including pharmacies, supermarkets, delis, convenience stores, liquor stores and tobacco-only stores. The survey was released as part of a public health campaign being waged by tobacco and alcohol prevention advocates.
Several Marin public health advocates reacted to the information in the survey in a release.
“Healthy retail is an important part of community health,” said Dr. Matt Willis, county public health officer. “When it comes to health, studies are clear that the choices we make are strongly influenced by what’s offered and by how and where it’s offered.” Bob Curry, director of Marin County’s Tobacco Related Disease Control Program, said, “E-cigarettes and the tobacco industry’s new flavored products threaten to reverse years of progress in protecting our kids from nicotine addiction.”
Jennie Cook, chairwomen of the Smoke-Free Marin Coalition, said, “These ‘training wheels’ for life-long addiction are targeting our youths in stores right under our noses.”
The percentage of Marin stores selling electronic smoking devices increased from about 46 percent in 2013 to more than 60 percent in 2016. That is still slightly better than the state average of more than 62 percent of stores selling electronic smoking devices.
The percentage of Marin stores selling flavored, non-cigarette tobacco products increased from 70.5 percent in 2013 to 73.2 in 2016. And the percentage selling these products near schools jumped from 52 percent to 72 percent during that same period.
Bill Daniels, owner of Marin-based United Markets grocery store chain, said store owners are being enticed into selling tobacco and alcohol products with promises of hefty profits.
“A sales representative for a wine and liquor supplier told me I was crazy if I didn’t jump on the bandwagon,” Daniels said in a statement. “The sales rep said, ‘It’s a huge profit center and absolutely will make you all sorts of money.’”
But Daniels said he is more interested in promoting health than racking up profits.
“I don’t sell tobacco products and I will not sell e-cigarettes,” he said.
On the bright side, the survey found that the number of Marin stores carrying chewing tobacco fell from nearly 61 percent in 2013 to about 56 percent in 2016.
The survey also reported on availability of condoms. It found that about 59 percent of Marin stores carry condoms; the statewide average is about 81 percent.
But nearly 49 percent of Marin stores selling condoms make them available on unlocked shelves. That’s higher than the state average of about 37 percent. Health experts say making condoms more accessible helps to prevent teen pregnancies.
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