TO THE EDITOR: Cigarette sales are dropping. According to the latest Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report, between 2008 and 2010 cigarette sales dropped from 342 billion to 281 billion.
This is the biggest drop in cigarette sales over a three-year period since the FTC began printing this report. Additionally, the tobacco industry’s advertising and promotions budgets have been steadily dropping; however, in 2010 there was still more than $8 billion spent annually on tobacco advertising and promotion in the United States.
Although their overall budget is decreasing, tobacco companies are targeting their advertising and promotion money on retail locations, particularly convenience stores. In 2010, 90 percent of all advertising and promotional expenditures made by tobacco companies were in the category of “price discounts” and “promotional allowances” (in 2000, those accounted for only 40 percent of expenditures).
Price discounts are payments made to retailers and wholesalers so they can sell their cigarettes at state minimums and still make a profit; promotional allowances are bonuses given to retailers and wholesalers. These incentive programs often come with a catch for retailers, usually requiring the product and related signage to be placed more prominently in the store, with special consideration given to specifically target adolescents.
Tobacco companies have admitted “today’s teen-ager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while in their teens …”
One way for retailers and local municipalities to protect adolescents is to pass local policies and laws restricting the open display and advertising of tobacco products. Local governments also have the ability to pass their own taxes on tobacco products.
If you’re interested in learning more about tobacco advertising and ways to combat it, contact Adirondack Tobacco Free Network, Clinton County Health Department, 565-4993.
TO THE EDITOR: I read with interest Wednesday’s After 50 article “Senior Program Has Smooth Transition” in the Nov. 28 Press Republican.
When Clinton County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program received word that Franklin County RSVP had decided to dissolve, we felt the loss for those that would miss needed services. However, the name similarity of the newly formed organization and the closure of the former one have confused some readers and even Clinton County RSVP volunteers.
For the record, Clinton County RSVP is alive and well. In fact, we just celebrated our 39th year of volunteerism with a recognition luncheon Nov. 7 at Peru Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars 309, with 110 volunteers in attendance.
We honored Doris O’Connell and Harriet Jeweler with Lifetime Achievement Awards for starting the Peru osteo exercise class in 1998 and Beverly Uliva as the Volunteer of the Year for keeping that bone-builder class going when Doris and Harriet had to retire.
We acknowledged all our 25 osteo-exercise instructors for their contribution to senior health and fitness. We also awarded five volunteers with 25 years of service, eight volunteers with 15 years of service, 24 volunteers with 10 years of service and 20 volunteers with five years of service.
Clinton County RSVP would like to thank Office for the Aging and Clinton County Para Transit for partnering on a bus to transport volunteers to the luncheon, Clinton County Senior Nutrition Program for catering the event, CV-TEC for providing wonderful student waiters from their culinary-arts program, Hannaford and Price Chopper for donations, 99 Restaurant for gift certificates and VFW 309 for their hospitality.
At our 40th recognition, we’ll award 102-year-old Albina St. Germain, among others, for her 38th year of service. RSVP is “getting things done” and going strong.
Retired & Senior Volunteer Program of Clinton County Purchase U.S. goods
TO THE EDITOR: Why have so many once reputable, quality brands moved their manufacturing operations to foreign countries?
Is it the greed of the companies or workers or some of both?
I needed a small appliance but on checking for where it was made, I checked every brand the store displayed and found “made in China” on every one. I didn’t buy any. I’ll make do — or do without.
That set me on a crusade to find the extent of everyday products being imported.
I found kitchen utensils, dishes, pots and pans, glassware, silverware, sewing notions, yard goods, yarn, shoes, all types of wearing apparel, handbags, linens, towels, blankets, spreads, toys, ball point pens and bingo daubers. Even checked a jar of fruit, which was marked “product of China.”
With the quality of merchandise, it’s no wonder our landfills are overburdened.
Everyone should check the origin of anything you consider buying, and when the quality isn’t up to par — don’t buy it and voice your opinion and put back on the shelf.
Take pride in America and buy “made in America.” Hopefully it will be easier to find good “made in U.S.A.” products.
TO THE EDITOR: Keep Social Security out of the “fiscal cliff” equation.
Like so many of my family, friends and neighbors, I am very concerned about what Congress will do about the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Social Security should be taken out of the equation.
By law, Social Security is self-financed. The Social Security Administration spends less than 1 percent of Social Security Trust Fund income to administer its programs. The fund holds $2.7 trillion in reserves. Yet, members of Congress insist on keeping SSA’s administrative accounts as part of the appropriations process. Therefore, the agency is subject to budget cuts that harm service delivery and does not have enough resources to run the program properly.
Beneficiaries and taxpayers are the losers. More than 10,000 baby boomers reach age 65 every day, yet Congress continues to cut funding and front-line staffing at SSA.
By next summer, it will have lost 9,000 employees. Hundreds of thousands of benefit applications will be backlogged, and individuals and their families will continue to wait for the benefits they have already paid for.
SSA has shut down nearly all the contact stations that serve remote areas and closed dozens of community offices. Now SSA has decided to limit the number of hours the offices are open so the workers can try to get to the backlogs.
The proposed budgets would cut SSA even more. We need to keep Social Security out of the budget process. We need to fund Social Security so the workers can do their jobs. Too many working Americans depend on their services.
American Federation of Government Employees Local 3343