Survey says: Local stores offering better choices for youth

The Hudson’s Bay High School Prevention Club surveyed neighborhood stores about the messages they send to youth and found promising results – and plenty of areas for improvement.

The Clark County youth surveyed 10 stores in the neighborhoods surrounding the school as part of a statewide campaign, “Let’s Draw the Line,” to engage adults and youth in taking action to reduce underage drinking.

“As a community, our local retailers are working together towards sending a positive message to youth,” said Susan Peng-Cowan, a prevention/intervention specialist at Hudson’s Bay, in a news release.

A Hudson’s Bay student, Bethany, who was part of the team surveying local stores, wasn’t as impressed with the findings.

“Lots of stores are kid-friendly, the kids in my neighborhood buy candy there,” she said in the news release. “It is shocking to see how easily tobacco and alcohol is available.”

Here are some of the results of the students’ survey:

-60 percent of stores displayed alcohol advertising outside of the store.

-30 percent of stores displayed tobacco advertising outside of the store; 80 percent had tobacco ads inside the store.

-None of the stores had glass pipes on display.

-80 percent of stores had ads for energy drinks outside of the store.

-All stores offered Mike’s Hard Lemonade or Four Loko.

-One of the stores placed alcohol next to candy; four placed tobacco products next to candy.

The students also looked at healthy food choices:

-90 percent of stores offered low-fat milk.

-70 percent of stores had one or more fresh fruit available; 50 percent had a fresh vegetable.

“When youth are inundated with poor health choices through availability and advertising, it sends a message to young people that alcohol and tobacco is normal, frequent and accessible,” Peng-Cowan said in the news release.


Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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