IT IS time to applaud Hannaford Supermarkets. They have taken a huge step forward stating they will be eliminating the sale of all tobacco products by this fall. This big step promotes public health and wellness and shows that as a community partner they care about keeping people safe.
We know in the world of substance misuse prevention that when you take away access to a product you reduce its use. It sounds so simple but it is quite a challenge. For as long as we can remember, for generations and decades back, people unknowingly used substances in some form not knowing that someday they would be considered harmful drugs.
As people became sick and developed health issues of many different varieties, doctors and scientists were able to link the issues back to the cause. The causes were often connected to products like tobacco (and alcohol) that soon became identified and classified as a drug, something that affects your body.
Do you know that at one time schools down in the south actually went on field trips to tobacco plants to learn how tobacco was grown and processed and students went home with a pack of cigarettes? It seems unimaginable but yet it happened. It is safe to say that parents and schools would never allow such a thing to happen today. Fast forward to 2020 and we now have evidence that tobacco is dangerous and harmful to your health, as well as being extremely addictive. Some people in recovery will tell you it is the hardest of all substances for them to quit.
So again, thank you to Hannaford! For some people being able to just grab a pack while shopping helped to keep that addiction going. I am sure they are the ones who will be thanking Hannaford for helping them in their desire to quit. Having to make that extra stop at another store might just be the incentive to realize they don’t really want them or need them.
Let’s hope and encourage those struggling to remain strong. There are free resources to help you quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) Please share this with anyone you know who needs it.
All of the reasons why we applaud Hannaford are similar to why it would be a great idea for Governor Chris Sununnu to sign the tobacco 21 legislation into law. It would help us reduce youth access to tobacco products and be one more step in reducing teen smoking and vaping. It would also ensure New Hampshire continues to get federal prevention dollars because we will be in line with the federal law that pushed the age to 21.
Hannaford’s big decision to stop selling tobacco shows it is not always about money. Some businesses honestly care about the health and well being of their customers and the community they are located in. They are raising the bar. We can hope others will follow.