Since the #ShopTobaccoFree campaign began in October (I joined shortly thereafter), 754 new retailers across the United States took the pledge to stop selling tobacco products. The (sponsor) Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has a mission to highlight and support tobacco-free retailers and encourage others to join them.
The campaign believes that visible tobacco products in stores sends the wrong message to kids—that using tobacco is acceptable. Remember:
A startling 5.6 million kids alive today will die prematurely from tobacco use unless we take strong action now to prevent it.
Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing almost a half-million residents each year. The number of new tobacco-free retailers since the campaign launched is amazing progress, but there is still quite a bit of work to be done.
While the pressure is on retailers like WalMart, Rite Aid, Costco and Walgreens to stop selling tobacco products, retailers like CVS, Target, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are being showered with accolades for keeping these dangerous items out of their stores.
In San Diego, we are blessed with a lot of choice regarding where we shop. In many cases, more than one of the retailers mentioned above is present in the same shopping area. Now that I am familiar with this campaign, I’m likely to pick CVS over Walgreens or Rite Aid, for example. Having lived in China, I already try to stay out of WalMart for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into here.
How to Get Involved In the #ShopTobaccoFree Movement
While it seems like an insurmountable task, there are little things you can do to encourage your retailer to go tobacco-free if they aren’t already.
1. Download the Shopper Toolkit
The shopper toolkit is a PDF that contains virtually anything you’d like to know about supporting the campaign.
2. Send Suggested Tweets
Copy and paste the below tweets to a status update:
Join us and #ShopTobaccoFree! Tell retailers to take tobacco off their shelves today. Learn how: shoptobaccofree.org
Visit shoptobaccofree.org to find your local tobacco-free retailers and tell other retailers to stop selling tobacco. #ShopTobaccoFree
Where can you #ShopTobaccoFree? Visit shoptobaccofree.org to find local tobacco-free retailers & thank them for putting health first
3. Upload a Graphic to Social Media
Download a graphic from the shoppers toolkit or go ahead and right click to save the top image in this post. Upload it to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ or whatever your platform of choice is and state why shopping tobacco-free is important to you. Use the hashtag #ShopTobaccoFree. (Alternatively, you can share this post.)
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has also included social media profile and header image graphics in the shopper toolkit that you may use to help spread the word.
Please join us in making sure that the next generation is tobacco-free!
*Thank you to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for sponsoring this post. I am happy to participate in such a good cause.