On Take Down Tobacco Day, NYC Faces a Growing Challenge: Smoke Shops Targeting Youth

Written by our Staten Island Reality Check Youth Engagement Manager, Courtney Oliver for Take Down Tobacco Day 2024.

Walking down your neighborhood, do you ever think about the number of smoke shops you see? Some may list seeing the trees flowing effortlessly to the happiness shown on pedestrian faces as they take their morning stroll or get ready to commute to work. However, many NYC residents are met with an uprise of smoke shops providing accessible access to vapes and other tobacco products. In recent years, many smoke shops within NYC have had an influx of openings, and each community member should be wary of this.

According to the New York City Council, New York City has 8,000 unlicensed smoke shops. From a simple assessment of smoke shops in Staten Island on the map, I could identify over 20 different establishments. Our city is being overflooded with smoke shops, and Staten Island Reality Check youth advocates shared that it is easily accessible for their peers to get vape pens from these establishments due to there being no proper procedure in confirming ages.

On April 1st, 2024 we celebrate Take Down Tobacco Day. What better way to raise awareness by educating community members about the retail environment and the impacts of having a surge of underregulated smoke shops in their neighborhood? Taking down big corporations such as the tobacco industry begins with questioning why tobacco products are pushed so much on civilians.

One idea to build awareness on this day comes from the Staten Island Reality Check Cohort. Students will create a poster campaign detailing the feelings or responses formed when the words tobacco and vape are present. This will encourage the initial conversation and move the conversation forward to a community that is more cautious about what it chooses to consume through the enlightenment of being educated on tobacco implications.

If you or your youth are driven by the advocacy work being done to bring awareness around tobacco use and want to be a key player in bringing it into your community, please check out our teams’ section and connect with a team member of your borough!


NYC Smoke-Free Housing Tool Kit for Landlords and Managing Agents

Read More

No Menthol Sundays

Read More

The Asian Smokers’ Quitline

Read More

NYC Quits

Read More

The New York State Smokers' Quitline

Read More

Two Shades of Green: Saving Money and Protecing Public Health in Affordable Housing

Read More
See All