The Ramsey Tobacco Coalition (RTC) has been working to reduce the harm caused by tobacco in Ramsey County since 1997. RTC has been a leader in reducing youth access to tobacco, enforcing tobacco-free school ground policies, adopting tobacco-free park policies, adopting tobacco-free policies for youth clubs and youth-serving agencies, and adopting smoke-free workplace laws and point-of-sale ordinances in Ramsey County and St. Paul.
RTC is comprised of 23 active partner organizations and is working to reduce youth exposure to tobacco influences at the point of sale.
The focus of the project is to reduce the tobacco marketing and advertising practices by:
- Identifying the level and types of tobacco influences in our area
- Comparing the influences in inner city neighborhoods with those in suburban communities, and low income neighborhoods with middle and upper income neighborhoods within the city
- Identifying any ways in which these industry influences may violate the legal restrictions created by local, state, and national laws, and legal settlements.
RTC is assessing and advocating for change in the following areas:
- Point-of-sale advertising (in-store signs, promotions, outdoor signs, branded store fixtures and paraphernalia, etc.)
- Promotional and sales practices designed to target youth (self-service displays, power walls, loosies, candy flavored tobacco, placement at children’s eye level, etc.)
We believe the tobacco industry uses all of these tactics to normalize tobacco use and influence youth by shaping the environment in which they live, and that these influences are specifically tailored to reach low socioeconomic status, Latino/Hispanic, African American, Asian, and Caucasian youth.
The project uses our research findings to advocate for changes in industry behavior, enforcement of legal restrictions and, where possible and appropriate, policy change to reduce tobacco industry influences at the point of sale.