Cold turkey on tobacco, head start on Thanksgiving

By Michelle Costanza

November 16, 2013 Updated Nov 16, 2013 at 12:44 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Hundreds of Binghamton Senators fans had more than hockey on their minds, as they were asked to take a look at tobacco marketing on Friday night.

Displays of tobacco signs stuck out among food vendors and red jerseys in the Veterans' Memorial Arena, creating a scene similar to one found in many convenience stores -- one that many are also calling unethical.

"We're asking people to just take a look at it and give us their thoughts, because if you look at it really closely, it looks so much like candy that you wonder who they're really trying to recruit," said Lisa Weston-Bialy the Community Educator of the Cornell Cooperate Extension in Tioga County.

The Tobacco Control Partners of Broome and Tioga counties displayed photos of tobacco products ranging from cigarettes to chewing tobacco next to candy bars.

Many who looked on said they were very surprised how closely the packaging compared, from color and design, down to the similarity of product names in some cases.

"If we can get marketing away from children's eye-level view, I think we can make a better society in the future," said Binghamton High School junior Benaleo Daniels.

BSens fans were invited to fill out a card with their opinions on the marketing tactics, or express why they would like a loved one to quit smoking.

The 38th Annual Great American Smokeout, which encourages people to quit -- even if just for a day -- will take place on Thursday, Nov. 21.

According to the Tobacco Control Partners, in many cases, the advice of going "cold turkey" has proven successful.

In return for offering opinions, participants were given the chance to get a head-start on Thanksgiving preparations -- with a "cold turkey" giveaway during halftime.

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