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Airport Variety Recognized for Tobacco Prevention

Partners for Healthier Communities (PHC) is excited to announce that Airport Variety has been recognized for their efforts to curb marketing of tobacco to youth. They have become a Star Store as a responsible retailer who takes seriously their role as a community member in reducing the visibility of tobacco advertising to kids.

“Reducing the volume of advertising that kids are exposed to can make a serious difference in preventing Maine’s youth from starting tobacco,” said Reegan Brown, health promotion coordinator at PHC. “We’re extremely pleased that Airport Variety has become Star Store certified, and encourage other retailers in the community to do the same.”

The objective of the Star Store program is to reduce the amount of minors’ exposure to tobacco promotional messaging in retail stores, such as special price and discount signage, free branded promotional items, and general tobacco company in-store posters, signs, and other visible logos. The Star Store program works in combination with NO BUTS! (Blocking Underage Tobacco Sales), the Maine CDC program to stop the illegal sale of tobacco to minors.

One-third of underage experimentation with smoking is attributed to the tobacco industry’s marketing tactics. Studies also show that the more in-store tobacco advertising a retailer has, the more youth think that tobacco use is common and widespread.

Involvement of youth is a key component of the Star Store program. Youth receive special training and then they are the ones who make contact with stores, meet with managers, conduct surveys, and then recommend changes in tobacco signage and promotion. “We were extremely excited to partner with Kendra Brown’s high school health class in conducting the Star Store Survey at Airport Variety,” said Brown.

“This was an amazing experience for the health students. Rather than just learning about how tobacco companies advertise to teens, the students had a hands on realistic view of advertising within local stores around them. This was a great learning opportunity for the students, who were able to reduce the exposure to tobacco products for themselves and other teens.” added Kendra Brown, Sanford High School’s health teacher.

A retailer’s Star Store designation can be displayed prominently in the store with a decal. In this case, Airport Variety was recognized at a Silver level as a result of making very significant changes throughout their store.

To learn more about this project and the Star Store program, please contact Reegan Brown at (207)608-8372 or

About Partners for Healthier Communities
Partners for Healthier Communities (PHC) at Southern Maine Health Care (SMHC) is a community coalition bringing together interested people to promote and improve the health and well-being of residents in York County, Maine. PHC provides general resources and can help with policy development on areas such as tobacco, physical activity, nutrition, and substance abuse prevention in the towns of Sanford/Springvale, Acton, Alfred, Waterboro, Shapleigh, Lyman, Limerick, Limington, Parsonsfield, Newfield, and Cornish. PHC is one of 27 local Healthy Maine Partnerships (HMP). The HMP initiative is a collaborative effort among local coalitions, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (MECDC), Department for Health & Human Services (DHHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHS) and the Department of Education (DOE). The HMP initiative is supported primarily by the Fund for Healthy Maine with federal grants from the U.S. CDC, SAMHS, and DOE. For more information please visit our Facebook page at


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