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Letter to the Editor: Targeting rural communities with tobacco

The nicotine industry targets our most vulnerable community members. The industry uses coupons, advertising, and products that evade legislation to get people hooked. Ads combining tobacco with things we love, like hunting, fishing, rodeos, or community events, are common. Ads try to paint tobacco as a normal component of everyday life. In reality, tobacco destroys families and has no place in our towns.

Tobacco harms the health of rural communities. These products are easily accessible and inexpensive. Picture the last time you visited a grocery store or a mini-mart. When you checked out, what was the first thing you noticed? Was it healthy produce? Was it a friendly cashier? Most likely, it was the big colorful tobacco and nicotine product displays. Big Tobacco spends $1 million an hour in the United States to get its products noticed.

Along with spending a lot on ads, coupons are one of the tobacco industry’s top marketing strategies. The tobacco industry targets people trying to quit with buy-one-get-one promotions and other coupons. Additionally, coupons and discounts make it easier for children to buy tobacco, leading to lifelong addiction.

The tobacco industry profits at the cost of rural community health. Act now to protect our community. Visit the Smoke Free High Country website healthcollaborative.org/smoke-free-high-country or contact us on Facebook and Instagram @smokefreehighcountry

Alex Taylor

Health Collaborative

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