What’s in Store for Our Kids?

Most adults have already made decisions about whether to smoke or how often they indulge in an alcoholic beverage. You’re probably even fairly desensitized to the amount of advertising for those products you’re subjected to every day.

But what about your child?

A new study released today shows youth are widely exposed to alcohol, tobacco and unhealthy food products and advertising at the retail level across San Diego County. More than 67 percent of surveyed stores in San Diego County have exterior advertising for unhealthy products according to the study.

The local findings are part of a statewide study conducted for the Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community campaign, a collaboration among advocates for nutrition, tobacco use prevention and alcohol prevention.

“Research shows that young people are highly influenced by the marketing of products like tobacco, alcohol and sugary drinks,” said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) child health medical officer. “The choices kids make today could lead them down a path toward a healthy lifestyle or a life of obesity, addiction and chronic diseases and the advertising they are exposed to can play a large part in their decisions.”

A team of 34 adults and 30 youth conducted the study in San Diego County on behalf of HHSA and eight community partners. They went out in pairs to 278 licensed retail establishments in the County to conduct the survey.

Highlights of the study include:

· 42 percent sell tobacco products near candy at the checkout and are located near schools

· 78 percent sell candy-, mint- and liquor-flavored non-cigarette tobacco products and are located near schools

· 45 percent of stores have exterior alcohol advertising

· 31 percent have alcohol ads near candy or toys or below 3 feet from the ground

· 59 percent sell sugary drinks at the checkout

“The survey results provide great information as we continue to work with communities and their residents to implement the County’s Live Well San Diego initiative and work to improve the health of our neighbors and our communities,” said Sidelinger.

For state, regional and county-specific data and more information on Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, visit

Tom Christensen is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact