Praaghya Meyyan, a rising Columbia High School senior, is the Capital Region Youth Ambassador of the Year (YAYA). The award, sponsored by Reality Check of New York State, honors the outstanding work of young people who have taken the lead in holding tobacco companies accountable for marketing to youth. These young activists are fighting to protect their peers and communities from the dangers of tobacco use through public education efforts, peer-to-peer training and outreach to policymakers.
Praaghya has been an active member of Reality Check since 2018 and has provided a vital youth perspective on the impact of tobacco marketing on young people on issues ranging from the mixed message of selling tobacco in pharmacies, the importance of raising the age to 21 for sale of tobacco products, and the youth appeal of flavored tobacco products. Her education efforts contributed to local and state adoption of Tobacco-Free Pharmacies, Tobacco 21, and a statewide ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.
She was honored by New York Assemblyman Jake Ashby and Rensselaer County Legislator Tom Grant for her tobacco control work during a virtual ceremony on July 24, 2020. To learn more about Praaghya’s involvment in Reality Check, click here.
The Town of Niskayuna is inviting public comment on expanding the provisions of a local law that prohibits the use of tobacco products in town parks to also prohibit e-cigarette use. The public hearing is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 as part of the regularly scheduled Town Board meeting.
The town of Niskayuna was the first Capital District municipality to make its parks tobacco-free in 2008. The proposed amendment would enhance the protections provided to park visitors by also preventing harmful exposure to e-cigarette emissions which may continue particulate matter and be inhaled into the lungs. You can read the draft amendment here.
There are several ways you can participate in this public hearing and share your views:
By video conference, copy this link into your web browser: : https://meet.google.com/oug-gceb-dic
By telephone, dial +1 754 -610-3088 and enter the following PIN: 346388428
If you are unable to participate electronically or by telephone but would like to submit a comment to be read during the public hearing, you can email your comment to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5:00 p.m. on July 28, 2020
This information is also available on the Town of Niskayuna website.
Capital District Tobacco-Free Communities and Town of Bethlehem residents applaud the Bethlehem Town Board for passing today new measures to protect its residents, especially children and young people, from the impact of tobacco marketing. The new law will require a local license for retailers to sell tobacco and vape products and will gradually decrease the number of licenses available. In addition, tobacco retailers located within 1000 feet of schools will no longer be allowed to sell vape products.
The law comes after the Town undertook an extensive review of policy options after a vape shop applied to locate directly in front of Elsmere Elementary School in 2019. The Town solicited written comments on the proposed law and held public hearings virtually on May 27 and June 10. About a dozen residents submitted comments and all expressed support for the proposal, many citing the desire to address the youth vaping epidemic and to create a healthier environment for their children.
For more information, click here.
The effects of racism, high prevalence of health disparities, and systemic oppression that have deeply affected black communities and other communities of color are issues of great concern to CDTFC. The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have intensified scrutiny not only of law enforcement, but of all institutional racism as reflected in disparities related to wealth, income, criminal justice, employment, housing, political power, education and health care.
Racism has no place in a just society. Everyone deserves the right to live and thrive in environments that are safe, stable and healthy. We stand committed to support reforms that address institutionalized racism and advance our organization’s mission to eliminate health disparities. #EndDisparities #HealthEquity
For decades, the tobacco industry has deliberately employed strategic, aggressive and well-funded tactics to attract youth to tobacco and nicotine products. Internal industry documents reveal in-depth research and calculated approaches designed to attract a new generation of tobacco users to replace the millions of people who die each year from tobacco-attributable diseases with new consumers. In New York State, this “new generation” includes 10,600 new smokers under the age of 18 every year.
The World Health Organization (WHO) brings attention to the ways in which the tobacco industry grows its user base across the globe. This video is a compelling look at what communities are up against as we work to promote tobacco-free living. The more you know about Big Tobacco’s dirty tricks, the more you know about how to stop them in their tracks.
New York State lawmakers have passed the 2020-21 state budget. In this budget are several tobacco control measures that will go into effect this summer, making our communities a healthier place to live, work, learn and play.
As of May 18, the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes (except tobacco flavor) will be prohibited unless and until a particular product receives market authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Also, tobacco sales in all pharmacies and stores that contain a pharmacy will end.
As of July 1, several other tobacco control measures will go into effect:
Prohibits price discounts and coupons for tobacco products
Ends online sales of vapor products delivered to private residences
Ends tobacco ads and product displays near schools
Increases penalties for tobacco retailers selling to underage purchasers.
New York is the second state in the nation to prohibit pharmacies from selling tobacco products (Massachusetts) and is also the second state in the nation to prohibit coupons and other price promotions for tobacco and e-cigarette products (New Jersey).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we at Capital District Tobacco-Free Communities are following public health guidance and are working remotely for the foreseeable future. If you need to contact CDTFC, please either email us by using the contact form here or through our Facebook and Twitter handles. Stay healthy and well.
Theresa Zubretsky, Community Engagement Coordinator here at Capital District Tobacco-Free Communities, was interviewed by Spectrum News earlier this week. She discussed the ongoing process of trying to keep e-cigarettes away from youth. Here’s an excerpt from the interview.
“One of the things we’ve learned in tobacco control is if you want to reduce youth uptake, you want to reduce the affordability of these products for young people, the accessibility of these products for young people, and their appeal,” Zubretsky said.
To read the entire story, click here.
On Thursday Nov. 21, 2019 and Friday Nov. 22, 2019, CDTFC partnered with SADD Clubs at Columbia High School and Goff Middle School for this year’s Great American Smokeout. Historically, the event encourages people to quit smoking for a day. This year, we encouraged students to go tobacco and e-cigarette free. Thank you to Alyssa Evans and her SADD club students for partnering with us! Check out some photos from the events below.
Despite a vote of 18 in favor and 17 opposed (1 abstention), Albany County’s proposed law to restrict the sale of all flavored tobacco products did not pass at last night’s meeting of the Legislature. Three legislators were not present for the vote. Thanks to all who contributed to the local effort to educate legislators about the problem of youth tobacco use and the youth vaping epidemic. We will continue to provide decision-makers and their constituents with accurate and up-to-date information and to promote solutions that reduce youth appeal, accessibility and affordability of all tobacco products.