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Preventing Teenage Smoking

A group of Binghamton teens alongside members of the Broome County Health Department and American Cancer Society urged  City Council on Monday to ban opening stores that sell tobacco products within 500 feet of schools.

Their goal was to encourage City Council to change city zoning laws to help reduce the amount of teenagers lighting up.

They suggested current operations be grandfathered in and not be affected by the new law.

One local business owner said it's peer pressure, not the location of the stores that encourages teen smoking.  He said he fears this law would hurt businesses.

"Hey, walk by a store that has a picture of a Newport inside the window that you really have to look hard to see.  It's not going to make a kid smoke.  It's going to be the kids around them that make the smoker, that pressure them into it," said John Cordisco of Cordisco Corner Store.

"The major areas where New York State really doesn't make progress is in reducing tobacco marketing. We know for research there are several studies that talk about when there's a higher smoking rate in schools, they take a look around, they see more tobacco stores," said Broome County Health Department Educator Sharon Fischer.

Both Cordisco and Fischer agree that more money should be spent on anti-smoking efforts in schools.

Fischer said that the majority of the money from the state's tobacco tax goes towards annual healthcare costs directly caused by smoking.
city council president teri rennia requested to ehar the planning commissions opinion on the matter.

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