Reality Check, Local Youth Advocates Travel to Albany; Meet with Lawmakers on Tobacco

FULTON, NY – Oswego County youth and tobacco control program contractors gathered at the New York State Capitol to educate lawmakers about the value of New York State Tobacco Control Programs and the increasing support among decision makers at the local level for tobacco-control policies.

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Rachel LeVea and Dakota Stoutenger, Reality Check members that went to Albany for Legislative Day 2016 with youth advocates from across NYS to educate lawmakers about the value of NYS Tobacco Control Programs.

Tobacco-control programs, many funded by the state, are proven to help prevent youth tobacco use and aid people in quitting, saving lives and millions of state tax dollars.

Representatives from Reality Check of Oswego, Onondaga, and Cayuga counties and youth are visiting with their lawmakers and participating in events to inform others of the important tobacco prevention work they are doing in their communities.

The results of a New York State Department of Health tobacco-control survey released today show strong and increasing support by local government decision makers for comprehensive, evidence-based tobacco-control policies in communities around the state.

The results of the 2014 survey of New York State county-level elected officials and chief health officers at county health departments demonstrate local government decision makers support Tobacco-Free Outdoors, Smoke-Free Housing and Point of Sale policies.

Moreover, the data indicate that support for comprehensive tobacco-control policies has increased since 2011.

Key findings include:

• Ninety percent of New York’s local decision makers currently support a restriction on smoking in building entryways and 65 percent support a restriction on smoking in outdoor public places such as beaches and parks.
• Local decision maker support for restricting the sale of tobacco products near schools and in pharmacies, and restricting the number of tobacco retailers increased significantly between 2011 and 2014.

“Locally, smoking rates are still higher than the state average, highlighting the need for programs that reduce tobacco-use and youth initiation.” said Kathleen Knopp-Haney, Reality Check Coordinator, Tobacco Free Network of CNY.

The NYS Tobacco Control Program is made up of a network of statewide contractors who work on the Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities initiative and Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York initiative.

The TCP uses a policy-driven, population-based approach designed to
prevent youth from smoking and to motivate adult smokers to quit, through Community Engagement, Reality Check and The NYS Smokers’ Quitline.

The efforts are leading the way toward a tobacco-free society.

For more information, visit TobaccoFreeNYS.org