Thank you for your February 25 article, “BCF Report: Southern Brooklyn is still smoking,” which shed light on the fact that rates of cigarette smoking and binge drinking are higher in certain parts of Brooklyn than in the rest of the borough. As a senior trainer at Global Kids — a non-profit educational organization for global learning and youth development — and Brooklyn resident, this is an important issue to address, as the use of tobacco remains the number one cause of preventable death in the United States.

Studies show that because our young people are exposed to tobacco marketing daily, they are much more likely to pick up their first cigarette. The tobacco industry spends $1.1 million each day advertising in New York alone, which plays a large role in the fact that 90 percent of regular smokers start before the age of 18.

With the higher rates of smoking in particular Brooklyn neighborhoods, it is time to act and join the efforts to prevent future tobacco use. To find a solution we need all players at the table, and we commend Senator Golden and Community Board 11 for taking the step to make this issue a priority.

All Brooklyn residents, especially the youth, deserve an opportunity for a healthy life – one not influenced by the tobacco industry’s agenda to increase sales.

Justine Ouano

Senior Trainer

Global Kids, Inc.

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