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Commission passes smoking ad ban

September 05, 1997

By DON AINES

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Three high school students were instrumental Thursday in coming up with a resolution passed by the Berkeley County Commission urging a voluntary ban on tobacco advertising near schools.

Aubrey Cookus of Martinsburg High School, Kelly Hess of Musselman High and Lynette LaRosa of Hedgesville High met with the County Commission to urge passage of the resolution. The three are members of the Berkeley County Youth Task Force, which worked with the Eastern Panhandle Tobacco Control Coalition on the ban, according to Barbara Orlando, the coalition's project manager.

The resolution states that the County Commission "requests voluntary action on the part of outdoor advertisers in Berkeley County to restrict outdoor advertising within a 1,000-foot radius of any school property."

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The resolution is aimed at billboards and other forms of advertising, Orlando said. There are stores near some schools with outdoor tobacco ads, she said.

According to Judy Boykin, community development coordinator for the Trans Potomac Prevention Coalition, a study of Berkeley County students shows that 55 percent of eighth-graders have tried cigarettes, 21 percent have used smokeless tobacco products and 15 percent smoke more than half a pack of cigarettes a day. By the 10th grade, the figures go up to 63 percent having tried cigarettes, 29 percent having sampled smokeless tobacco and 27 percent smoking 10 or more cigarettes a day.

"If advertising didn't work, they wouldn't do it," Orlando said Thursday after the meeting.

Cookus, Kelly and Hess are among a number of students in the county's three high schools involved in anti-tobacco clubs, Orlando said.

The students participated in West Virginia Youth Tobacco Prevention Campaign seminars this summer, Boykin said.

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