Survey finds flavored tobacco products easier to get than fruits and vegetables in Central California

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Drive by any convenience store and you will notice a number of tobacco and alcohol ads plastered across the storefront. Experts say young people are commonly targeted and influenced by these advertisements-- especially at stores located near schools.

Dr. Milton Teske of the Kings County Department of Public Health said, "We really need to stop marketing tobacco products to our children. We don't need them and their vulnerable state becoming addicted to something that's going to ruin their life."

Wednesday, Valley health experts came together to reveal the findings of a recent statewide survey that show the important role storefronts play in our neighborhoods, and the influence they have on the health of families and young people who shop in them.

According to the Department of Public Heath, stores cluttered with unhealthy advertisements promote negative lifestyle choices that can lay the foundation in a young person's decision making.

"They put billions into marketing because they're depending on getting these kids addicted. We need to use every legal channel we can to block that advertising and that marketing and cutback that avenue that they're so vulnerable to," said Dr. Teske.

According to this latest survey there is a lack of access to fruits and vegetables at corner stores. Fresno County health experts would like to see a shift toward affordable healthy options

"All of our youth deserve to live in communities free from unhealthy ads, imagery, and influences," said Sara Bosse, Fresno County Department of Public Health.

The study also shows that youth are three times more likely to be influenced by tobacco or alcohol ads than adults.
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