On July 25, the Wichita Mountains Prevention Network (WMPN) partnered with Jackson County Tobacco Education Committee (JCTEC) and student volunteers to conduct 15 tobacco Reward Reminder Visits in Jackson County. Out of the 15 checks done, 14 retail establishments did not sell tobacco to a minor. Reward Reminder Visits commend clerks and retailers who refuse to sell tobacco products to minors. The research-based outreach program encourages retailers to comply with Oklahoma’s statutes prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to minors.
During Reward and Reminder Visits teams of adults and underage youth visit retail establishments where youth attempt to purchase tobacco products. Clerks who sell receive a reminder that doing so could result in a misdemeanor charge and a $200 fine. They are also encouraged to check ID before completing future sales. Clerks who do not sell are eligible to win a reward. All store clerks who did not sell this quarter were entered into a drawing for a $25 American Express gift card. The winner of the gift card was Erica Kirby from the Wal-Mart Supercenter at 2500 N. Main St., Altus OK. Thank you, Erica and the other retailers in Jackson County, for not selling tobacco to minors!
The tobacco industry spends approximately $186 million in Oklahoma and $13.4 billion across the nation each year advertising its deadly products. Published research studies have found that kids are twice as sensitive to tobacco advertising as adults. Youth are more likely to be influenced to smoke by cigarette marketing than by peer pressure, and one-third of underage experimentation with smoking is attributed to tobacco advertising. Since young children are seen by Big Tobacco as replacement smokers, educating the youth of this community is a large part of the mission of the JCTEC. JCTEC also seeks to change social norms and policies surrounding tobacco use.
The committee also works hard to educate tobacco users about tobacco cessation resources. The OK Tobacco Helpline is available and free to everyone, 1-800 QUIT NOW. Services are available in Spanish and many other languages. For direct access to the Spanish Quit Line call 1-800-793-1552. The deaf and hard of hearing may access the TTY Quit Line at 1-877-777-6534 or Videophone at 1-866-748-2436 (ask for direct VP number.
Approximately 35, 000 Oklahomans called the Quit Line in 2011. Helpline Quit Coaches are highly trained in applying motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy. They use these techniques to address negative thoughts that keep participants from success. Nicotine replacements treatment is available through the helpline. Most participants are eligible for a two-week starter kit that includes nicotine gum, patches and lozenges.
For more information about the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, go to www.ok.gov/helpline/ for more information about quitting tobacco use go to: www.smokefree.gov. If you would like more information pertaining to the Reward Reminder Visits or JCTEC, please contact Kim Booker at Wichita Mountains Prevention Network at (580) 355-5246.