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Council Designates Farmers’ Market A ‘Tobacco-Free Zone’

OSWEGO, NY – Starting this week, smokers will be asked to refrain from using Tobacco products at the Oswego Farmers’ market.

The Tobacco Free Network of Oswego County, with the support of the city of Oswego, the Oswego County Health Department and the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, announced the market will be a tobacco-free event starting Aug. 25.

According to a resolution passed by the Oswego Common Council on Monday, “from this date forward:” no tobacco products are to be used between the farmers’ market barriers.

“The decision to create a tobacco-free zone at the Oswego Farmers’ Market helps create healthier spaces in Oswego, which in turn creates a healthier community,” said Council President Ron Kaplewicz.

The tobacco-free zone will be designated in the area between the farmers’ market barriers, including sidewalks, on West Bridge and West Oneida streets as well as the Civic Plaza between City Hall and the John O’C. Conway Municipal Building during the hours of farmers’ market operation.

People who wish to use tobacco products during these hours asked to go outside of the barriers.

“We have a great farmers’ market that brings the community together, Kaplewicz said.

The move will make it safer for young children at the market, he said, adding that currently, they are in danger not only of being burned by a cigarette or its ashes but also from secondhand smoke.

“I’m pleased that the city of Oswego is making great strides to protect its residents and the spirit of our farmers’ market” Abby Jenkins, program coordinator for the Tobacco Free Network of Oswego County, told Oswego County Today. “There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, even if outdoors. In a survey conducted in 2010, 91 percent of Oswego County residents considered secondhand smoke to be harmful. Furthermore, 75 percent of Oswego County residents favor restricting or completely eliminating cigarette smoking at public outdoor recreation areas or events.”

Beth Hilton, executive director of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce said, “By adopting a tobacco-free policy, the farmers’ market will become a safer, healthier environment for market vendors and patrons and make the market a truly family-friendly venue.”

“We are also dealing with food stuffs at the market. I think having it smoke free in that regards is a good idea,” the council president added. “We’re not asking anybody to quit smoking. We would just like the market area to be smoke-free, just one block on Thursday night for a couple hours.”

Jenkins said there are several reasons to go smoke-free, including:

  • Secondhand smoke leads to many serious illnesses including asthma, respiratory infections and cardiovascular disease.
  • When children see adults smoking in family-friendly places such as parks and playgrounds, they see the behavior as acceptable and are more likely to mimic the behavior.
  • Cigarette butts are hazardous to children, animals and the environment.  Children who ingest discarded cigarette butts are at risk for toxic poisoning, choking or burning themselves.
  • 66.7% of Oswego County smokers believe that smoking at public outdoor recreation areas should be restricted or eliminated.
  • In Oswego County, 77% of the adult population does not use any tobacco products.
  • Nearly 90% of adult smokers began at or before the age of 18.
  • It’s common sense to protect children where they play and socialize

The Oswego Farmers’ Market, located at West First Street, between West Bridge and West Oneida streets, is open Thursdays through Oct. 13 from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. It provides Oswego residents and visitors with fresh, local, healthy foods.

It acts as Oswego’s weekly “block party,” featuring live entertainment, fresh-picked fruits and vegetables direct from the farm, arts and crafts and homemade delicacies.

The Tobacco Free Network will provide signage to designate the boundaries of the smoke-free area at the farmers’ market.

Additionally, compliance cards will be provided to any patron requiring additional information about where they may and may not use tobacco products.

For more information on Tobacco Free Outdoors, call 315-343-2344 ext. 21 or visit tobaccofreenys.org