Letters to the Editor

Wednesday, Mar 14 2012 11:01 PM

Big Tobacco targeting our kids, but we can act

By The Bakersfield Californian

Regarding the March 11 editorial "Tobacco: Resurgent 'pediatric epidemic'": I was born and raised in Kern County and for 20 years, as an American Cancer Society volunteer, I have been fighting Big Tobacco to keep our kids from smoking.

You can't dismiss facts: Big Tobacco spends $29 million a day marketing their products to children. Nine in 10 daily smokers started by age 18 and 90 percent of smokers start as teens. In a time when 1 in 2 Californians born today will develop cancer at some point in their life, Big Tobacco is more concerned about making profits rather than the health of our children.

The recent report by the U.S. Surgeon General highlights the main idea: Big Tobacco wants children to become lifelong smokers. As much as Big Tobacco likes to pretend it doesn't market to kids, that's just not true. Tobacco advertisements are often placed at kids' eye level or near candy at convenience stores. Spending $29 million a day to addict our youth to this cancer-inducing habit is outrageous.

On June 5, Californians have an opportunity to votes yes on Proposition 29, the California Cancer Research Act. Let's stop Big Tobacco's efforts to target our children. A yes vote on Prop. 29 saves lives, stops kids from smoking and funds cancer research.

Patsy Romero

Bakersfield

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