“We need to focus on kids because that’s where it all starts,” said Dr. Lee Edmonds, chief of pulmonology at Bassett Medical Center. “For every smoking-related death — and there are 1,200 a day — two kids have their first cigarette. It must be driven by peer-related forces, because first experiences with cigarettes are not enjoyable. It’s not something they start because it’s fun. People cough a lot their first time smoking.”
One good idea promulgated by local anti-smoking advocates is for the state Legislature to ban tobacco products in pharmacies. Another is to rein in the tobacco industry’s $214 million New York state marketing campaign by restricting where cigarettes can be displayed in stores.
The fewer future Marlboro or Camel or Lucky Strike men and women — or boys and girls — the better.