Interact for Health

Sticker Shock campaign raises awareness of underage drinking, smoking

(May 8th, 2017)

Health promotion involves not only working to change people's behavior but also educating a community about factors that can lead to poor health.

Pendleton County Champions in Kentucky, one of our Thriving Communities grantees, has conducted such an awareness campaign since 2014. Each year about 25 to 30 Pendleton High School students visit stores in the county to place colorful stickers on tobacco and alcohol products. The stickers warn that it is against the law to give those products to young people.

"Our students find that it is very easy for them to get alcohol and tobacco products," says Kenna Knight of Pendleton County Champions. Sticker Shock, as the program is called, "is that friendly reminder that it is illegal to purchase for a minor."

Interact Senior Program Officer Mary Francis says drinking alcohol is harmful to young people in a number of ways.

"Adolescent brain development and judgement skills are impaired with alcohol use," Francis says.  "This is linked to serious, but preventable, behaviors like impaired driving, academic failure and early pregnancy."

This year during the first week of May, students from the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, the 4-H Teen Club and the student council applied stickers at nine stores in Falmouth and Butler.

Sticker Shock helps stop "young adults before they get started using tobacco and alcohol," says Pendleton County Sheriff Craig Peoples, who joined students as they visited stores. (See photo above.) "If the alcohol can't get to the party then it's not able to be consumed, which leads to fewer alcohol-related issues."

Sticker Shock is a true community effort, uniting students, police and store owners to spread the word about underage smoking and drinking.

"When the community agrees on expectations and enforces common healthy messages and practices about alcohol, more of our teens make it through adolescence unscathed by its effects," Francis says.