Reality Check is a New York State Tobacco Control Program that is teen led and adult supported. The teens of the Reality Check movement use peer education to expose the manipulative tactics used by the Tobacco Industry to target youth. Reality Check strives to bring media awareness and empowers youth to make informed decisions. The program encourages teens across the State to be leaders that are active in the fight to be tobacco free. Reality Check can be found in all counties of New York State.
Cattaraugus County Reality Check is currently working on recruiting youth through education and events. The program is also working on educating adults in the community to become aware that the tobacco industry targets youth.
Four initiatives that the Cattaraugus County Reality Check program is undertaking during the 2007-2008 fiscal year are: Smoke Free Movies, Retail Environment, Advertising, Sponsorship and Promotion and Selective Binding.
Smoke Free Movies: Tobacco use in movies influences youth to start smoking. Tobacco companies take advantage of the influence that movies have on people, especially those people that are young. Tobacco use in movies makes the activity appear to be popular and normal in today’s society, while the dangers of tobacco use are rarely identified. Actors, actresses and movie producers often get paid by tobacco companies for using their products as a means of advertisement. Reality Check is working to educate youth and adults on the Smoke Free Movies Initiative.
Retail Environment: Many retailers have tobacco advertising inside and outside of their stores. Point of Purchase advertising also influences teens to start using tobacco. Stores in New York State have an average of 17 tobacco advertisements displayed and many of the store owners receive payment for doing so. Therefore, both the tobacco industry and the retailer benefit from the advertising. Reality Check is working to reduce and/or eliminate tobacco advertisements in the retail environment.
Advertising, Sponsorship and Promotion: Donations, services and/or support in exchange of recognition. This is usually done at fairs, family events, sports and with individuals. Reality Check will be working with events in Cattaraugus County to have them sign a policy saying they will not take money from tobacco companies for recognition or advertisement.
Selective Binding: School districts should not be receiving magazines that contain tobacco company or product advertisements. Selective binding refers to binding magazines without any tobacco advertisements in order for them to be used in schools. Magazine advertisements tend to glamorize and normalize tobacco use and encourage youth to pick up the bad habit, which undermines the cessation and prevention efforts.