The Albany Housing Authority (AHA) Board of Commissioners voted on Tuesday to make all 2,200 Albany Housing Authority units smoke-free as of January 1, 2016.
“As a former smoker, I understand the power of addiction,” said AHA executive director Steve Longo. “But my role, and the role of the board, is to protect the housing and health of those with limited means who don’t smoke. This will improve the air quality for everyone.”
Two years since the Schenectady Municipal Housing Authority (SMHA) implemented a smoke-free policy for its senior developments, the Capital District Tobacco-Free Coalition (CDTFC) announced that a recent survey shows that the policy is helping residents smoke less and is well-liked by a majority of residents.
“It’s gratifying to see that the no-smoking policy is beginning to create healthier homes for our residents,” stated Richard Homenick, executive director of SMHA. “While there is certainly room for improvement, we know that we have the support of residents to continue to work toward 100 percent smoke-free buildings.”
We had a great time in Washington Park over the weekend celebrating the 1st Tobacco-Free Tulip Fest with “Play Hard, Breathe Easy” games, prizes, giveaways. . .and more! Hundreds of festival-goers stopped by our booth to sign a banner thanking the City of Albany for making the parks tobacco-free, to enter a sweepstakes for a Fresh Air basket (winner to be announced soon), and to earn a prize pinwheel by playing hard at Hula Hoop, Twirl ‘n Jump and sack racing.
Shout outs to the Albany Police Department for posting tobacco-free message boards in the park; to the Department of Recreation and the Department of General Services for installing the tobacco-free signage; to Special Events for getting the word out to vendors and the community; and to the City’s Administration for their support. Thanks, too, to our UAlbany SUNY and Catholic Central High School student volunteers who worked hard and played hard and to all of you who stopped by our booth to help us celebrate!
Here are just a few pics from the weekend. . .more will be posted on our Facebook page soon. If you spot yourself in a photo, be sure to comment and let us know!
Things are already under way in Meeting Room 1 of the Empire State Plaza where representatives of Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities, Reality Check, and Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York along with volunteer youth leaders are available to answer questions, offer resources and give demonstrations about effective tobacco prevention programs being delivered across the state.
Acting New York State Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker is there along with Dr. Ursula Bauer of the CDC, calling on the next generation in New York to support the measures.
Check out the news story on WNYT.
Last night, more than 200 people came out for Reality Check’s Family Movie Night at Afrim’s in Colonie. The event featured a free screening of the family-friendly and smoke-free movie Up, along with free pizza, snacks, face painting and activities at intermission. Attendees posed for photos with costumed characters Kevin, Russell and Mr. Fredricksen, in front of a hand-painted Up house and participated in activities to raise awareness of the impact of smoking in kids’ movies. Check out all the smiles and fun in photos posted on the Reality Check Facebook page.
The event was organized and hosted by Reality Check volunteer teens from Niskayuna High School and Albany County 4-H as part of the International Week of Action on Smokefree Movies. The student volunteers wore blue t-shirts emblazoned with “90%”, representing the percentage of adult smokers who started smoking before the age of 18. The teens collected parent signatures which will be combined with signatures from other Reality Check groups across the state calling upon the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to attach an “R” rating to any movie showing smoking.
Looking for something fun and free to do over February Break? Grab the kids and head over to Afrim’s Sports on Wednesday, February 18 @ 5:00pm for a FREE showing of the adventure-packed, award-winning, and smoke-free movie, UP!
Enjoy the movie for the first or fifteenth time (it never gets old), enjoy some free pizza, snacks, face painting and other activities during intermission. Have your photo taken with Up movie costumed characters Russell, Carl and Kevin and FREE balloons for all.
February 16-20 marks the International Week of Action (IWA) on Smoke-free Movies. Scheduled the same week as the Academy Awards, IWA is a chance for youth groups, parent groups, health organizations and consumer alliances worldwide to pressure the film industry to eliminate smoking from youth rated films. Capital District youth will be collecting signatures calling for the Motion Picture Association of America to attach an “R” rating to any movie showing smoking.
Bleacher seating is available, but feel free to bring your own blanket, low lawn chair or stadium seat. Doors will open at 4:30; event starts promptly at 5:00.
Sponsored by Capital Region Reality Check, a teen-led program to prevent youth smoking, and organized by local area teens. For more info, contact Reality Check at 459-2388 or email; check out the Event Page; and follow RC on Facebook!
As of January 1, 2015, Albany city park visitors will be able to breathe easier when all city parks become tobacco-free. What a great way to ring in the new year!
Tobacco-free signage can’t go up until the ground thaws. . .brrrr. . .it’s too cold out there. But signs will be popping up in early spring along with the robins, greenery and tulips. In 2015, park visitors can look forward to cleaner and greener city parks.
The City of Schenectady is considering a local ordinance that would prohibit new retail stores from selling tobacco within 1000 feet of any primary, secondary or private school. They are also considering limiting window signage to no more than 20% of total available space, a move that could reduce the amount of tobacco advertising in windows. The proposed provisions could help reduce young people’s exposure to tobacco marketing.
Judy Rightmyer, CDTFC Director, was honored to receive the Stanton Glantz Award for Community Activism at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in New Orleans today. Pictured with her is Bob Gordon, Project Director of the California LGBT Tobacco Education Partnership, who championed San Francisco’s ordinance to prohibit the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies, the first such ordinance in the United States. For more than a decade, Judy has worked tirelessly to improve the public health of the Capital District community and has been a leader in national efforts to promote tobacco-free pharmacies. Congratulations, Judy! You make us all very proud.
SUNY hosted a great meeting yesterday in Albany to help colleges across the region become tobacco-free. Among the panelists were Larry Hardy of RPI and Robyn King of Schenectady County Community College, two of the eleven (!!) local colleges that have already become tobacco-free. You can read more about their policies on their websites: RPI and SCC.
CDTFC’s Judy Rightmyer and Kelsey Madden are smiling because the Capital District is only two colleges away from being a 100% tobacco-free college community!