The tobacco industry spends almost $70 million in Maine alone to promote its products. It’s estimated that 85% of the tobacco industry’s annual marketing budget is now spent on ads and promotions in retail stores such as gas stations, convenience stores, and even pharmacies.
Youth are particularly vulnerable to retail advertising. They shop in convenience stores regularly where they are bombarded with point of sale advertising, promotions, discounts and freebies, and their messages are working: 1,700 Maine kids become new daily smokers each year.
But through integrated statewide efforts, Maine’s high school smoking rates have dropped 60% since 1977. Retailers in Maine, including large chains are helping this effort.
More than 550 retailers around the state are realizing the benefits of preventing sales of tobacco products to youth by taking part in NO BUTS! (Blocking Underage Tobacco Sales). NO BUTS! is an innovative program that reminds employers, managers and employees that along with stiff fines and penalties for selling tobacco to underage consumers, there are other reasons to block tobacco sales to minors: combating underage tobacco use and helping stop this major public health crisis.
NO BUTS! is Good for Youth – and for Business.
Promoting your store as a NO BUTS! store means you are a leader in the community, and your efforts toward prevention contribute to a responsible corporate profile. NO BUTS! also rewards retailers who are already promoting responsible tobacco sales, and your status can save you violation charges.
Be a leader in preventing underage tobacco use. Find out more about the NO BUTS! program.
As part of the NO BUTS! program, the Star Store initiative encourages retailers to reduce tobacco advertising in their stores and reduce minors’ exposure to tobacco messaging. Star Store is a voluntary program, and in combination with NO BUTS! it helps advance best retailing practices further by reducing the exposure of tobacco messages, advertising, and promotion to youth.
Most importantly, Stare Store gets youth involved. Youth visit retail outlets, meet with managers, conduct surveys and make recommendations. They provide retailers with information about the program, and make decisions about awarding Star Store status.
Be a Star Store.
Being a Star Store is easy. The program provides tools for retailers about responsible tobacco sales and information about training staff. Once you become a Star Store, a decal displayed in your window lets the community know you are taking the initiative to prevent youth from falling prey to tobacco advertising. And as a participating store, you will be recognized on the statewide PTM website and in various community and store promotions.
Find out more about Star Store.