CounterBalance launched in 2014 with one overarching goal: to counter the tobacco industry’s influence in the retail environment and its impact on Vermont’s youth.
Retail stores are the primary place where tobacco companies recruit new users, nearly 90% of whom are underage youth. In fact, according to their own internal documents, tobacco companies try to attract new, young smokers by targeting stores near schools and playgrounds.
Currently CounterBalance is working to raise awareness about the dangers of flavored tobacco products. The tobacco industry uses candy flavors and colorful packaging to make e-cigarettes, little cigars, and chew seem more appealing. In fact, two-thirds of tobacco-using youth said they use these products because they come in flavors they like.