Healthy Commercial Filmed In Gulfport

The yellow tape around Fayard's BP in Gulfport Wednesday afternoon was not marking a crime scene, but it was a scene of action.

The Partnership For A Healthy Mississippi is shooting a commercial that will highlight its law enforcement and retailer program, which focuses on governing the sale of tobacco and beer to minors.

The program has so far yielded good results, and the partnership wants to keep it that way.

"The message this time was to thank the store owners, the store clerks, the police officers, and store managers for participating in the must-be-18 carding program to make sure kids are old enough to buy tobacco- to prevent underage children from buying it," said Maris, West & Baker Advertising Agency art director Chris Nolen.

"Before the Partnership started, the youth buy rate, meaning the percentage of times that kids could actually buy tobacco was well above 40-percent, but our law enforcement community has really partnered with the retailer community and the youth buy rate is now down to about 6 percent," said Partnership For A Healthy Mississippi communications director Sharon Garrison.

The Partnership would like the rate to drop even lower, and it will continue providing educational information, despite facing what could be a major setback.

A recent court decision has put the fate of this program in the legislature's hands, yet representatives remain optimistic.

"We do enjoy a great deal of support in the legislature, certainly the leaders in the House and the Senate have expressed their support in the partnership as have many of the members. I think they see what's happening with these programs. They see the difference we're making with kids and know what that means," said Garrison.

Until a decision is made, the partnership will keep producing commercials like these to help keep the health of all Mississippians in the spotlight.

The commercial will begin airing later this month.