Chemung County Health Department receives $1.6 million grant

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Chemung County Health Department has been awarded a five-year, $1.6 million grant to support the prevention and reduction of tobacco use in Chemung, Schuyler, and Steuben counties. The funding, “Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities”, was awarded by the Tobacco Control Program within the New York State Department of Health. Effective July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2024, this award confirms the continuation of the Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition (STTAC), which has been a program of the Health Department for over 20 years. With this funding, STTAC will continue to utilize community-based strategies and a strong youth leadership program to educate residents and policy makers within the tri-county region.

Smoking rates among adults in Chemung (25.9%), Schuyler (19%) and Steuben (22.6%) counties are higher than the statewide rate of 14.2%. This demonstrates the need for a concentrated effort in the Southern Tier.

Peter Buzzetti, Public Health Director with the Chemung County Health Department explains, “Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in New York State.” Buzzetti continued, “In the Southern Tier, we need to eliminate the health inequities related to tobacco use. Our community members that are most negatively impacted by tobacco use are those who are experiencing poverty, mental illness, substance use disorders, and physical disabilities. This funding will allow us to continue to work collaboratively across counties to address this inequity with the comprehensive response it requires.”

With this funding, the Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities initiative will continue to support the existing STTAC infrastructure:

  • A formal regional coalition of community members and organizations.
  • The engagement and mobilization of community members to strengthen tobacco-related policies that prevent and reduce tobacco use, reduce youth exposure to harmful tobacco marketing in retail settings, limit tobacco industry manipulation of the retail environment, limit exposure to secondhand smoke, and reduce smoking imagery through the media.
  • The Reality Check program, which engages youth ages 13-18 in action-oriented activities and imparts the necessary leadership skills to engage in policy-related tobacco control work.

These strategies will reduce the impact of retail tobacco marketing on youth and adults, especially those disparately-affected populations; increase tobacco-free outdoor areas; reduce secondhand smoke exposure in multi-unit housing; reduce tobacco imagery in youth-rated movies; and advance tobacco-free norms.

To learn more, contact STTAC at 607-737-2858 or email




1 NYS Tobacco Control Program

2 Prevalence of Current Smoking Among Adults in NY by County – NYS BRFSS 2019



Sarah Robbins

Chemung County Health Department – 103 Washington Street, Elmira, NY 14901

607-737-2858 hermes birkin


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