Support the effort to halt alcohol, tobacco use

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By The Staff

The Coalition for Healthy Youth of Lancaster County is looking to take a team effort approach in combating teen alcohol consumption and early tobacco use.

The coalition is shooting to have local businesses be a positive force in the fight by doing what they can to do what’s right.

The coalition, formerly known as the Lancaster County Prevention Coalition, is seeking support from local businesses to help in the battle to halt the underage use of alcohol and tobacco.

The coalition reported that 23 percent of local students who responded to a 2009 school district survey had consumed alcohol.

The survey also provided data that 15 percent of the students had smoked cigarettes and that an alarming 9 percent noted they have been involved in binge drinking.

It’s time to take control before the numbers increase and become out of control. As the old saying goes, nip it in the bud before it grows into a greater problem.

To make sure local businesses are on board in the battle to keep these products out of young hands, a covenant is being sought.

A year ago, 88 county businesses signed covenant partnerships with the coalition, which is again seeking to make a positive impact.

Store owners who signed the agreement attended an eye-opening breakfast where they were provided decals to place in their store windows, a certificate and informational materials.

“We plan to continue honoring these businesses, as we know it is important to partner with the businesses in order to meet our goals of a healthy Lancaster,” coalition committee member Deborah Boulware said.

The coalition will also provide businesses with information about a new federal law concerning tobacco, which went into effect this month.

The law’s intent is to stop the sale, distribution and promotion of tobacco products to minors as well as the distribution of free cigarette samples and keep tobacco brands from sponsoring athletic, music and any other social or cultural events.

The Coalition for Healthy Youth of Lancaster County is funded by the Drug Free Communities Support Program, an anti-drug program providing grants to community coalitions that help communities to prevent alcohol, tobacco, illicit drug and inhalant use by youngsters.

For businesses on board, we salute their commitment to make a difference. We urge those not yet on board to join the team in this movement to make a difference in the future, our youth.