STTAC August Newsletter

Thursday, August 1, 2019

August 2019
Volume 8, Issue 8

The Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition (STTAC) seeks to build
healthier communities through tobacco-free living in
Chemung, Schuyler, & Steuben, NY.





Local housing properties follow suit, creating opportunities
for more equitable housing.

Julie Reep (Conifer Realty Property Manager) displays one of the free signs provided by STTAC with the adoption of Conifer's smoke-free housing policy.

July 31st marked the first anniversary of the rule that banned smoking in all Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funded housing. Studies show that smoke-free housing policies reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, improve indoor air quality, and reduce reported health symptoms. As a result of HUD’s new rule, other local housing properties have been inspired to adopt policies as well.

This summer, several local Conifer Realty properties adopted smoke-free housing policies, including St. Joseph’s (Elmira), St. Patrick’s (Elmira), Knoxville Senior Housing (Corning), and Fairside Apartments (Bath). “Conifer decided to adopt a smoke-free housing policy because we recognize our responsibility in providing quality, healthy housing for our tenants,” states Julie Reep, Knoxville and Fairside Property Manager. “Most residents were supportive of this positive change - many even said that they have been trying to quit, and this policy will help them cut back on the number of cigarettes they are smoking.”

Smoke-free policies for low income and affordable housing is a step in the right direction in terms of health equity. “All of the luxury and market rate apartments are already smoke-free, but many affordable and low-income housing properties still allowing smoking,” commented Sarah Robbins, Director of STTAC. “This is concerning considering that the home is where children are most exposed to harmful secondhand smoke.”

The Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition encourages other local landlords and property managers to make their housing smoke-free. STTAC provides free support including tenant surveys, policy development, and signage. For more information, contact STTAC at (607) 737-2858 or email


T21 builds on comprehensive efforts to combat health threats from tobacco and e-cigarette products.

On July 16th, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation (S.2833/A.558) to raise the minimum sales age for tobacco and electronic cigarette products from 18 to 21. This legislation builds on the Governor's comprehensive efforts to combat health threats from tobacco and e-cigarette products. The bill will take effect 120 days after becoming law.
This is a step in the right direction for protecting our youth from nicotine addiction through reducing access to these highly addictive and harmful products. However, Tobacco 21 alone does not address the tobacco industry’s extreme marketing. For decades, companies intentionally and aggressively marketed tobacco products to youth. Now, they’re using the same marketing tactics across our community—this time pushing flavored e-cigarettes, setting up our kids to become the next generation addicted to nicotine.
“With e-cigarette use among youth reaching epidemic proportions, there is more work to be done to complement the success of this new legislation,” commented Peter Buzzetti, Chemung County Public Health Director. “Expanding these efforts to also restrict tobacco marketing through limiting the type, location, and density of retailers is essential for creating a more comprehensive approach to protecting our youth from this deadly and costly addiction.”
Studies show that comprehensive tobacco control efforts are effective in preventing youth from starting and helping smokers quit. Local municipalities have the power to enact such policies that are crucial for reducing costs and improving the health and wellbeing of their communities.



Local Reality Check Update

While school is out and regular Reality Check meetings are on pause, you may think that our youth in Reality Check of Chemung, Schuyler, and Steuben are enjoying some nice R&R. Think again! We are hard at work participating in fun summer events and planning for next year! 

Reality Check youth in Elmira have submitted an application to take part in Elmira Public Art Commission's Community Art Project by painting a fire hydrant. Youth will paint an "under the sea" scene with colorful fish and sea creatures which lends to our messaging that cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world. They pollute our oceans and poison the lovely sea creatures that live there. 

Reality Check is also in the process of planning a regional get together for youth in Chemung, Schuyler, and Steuben Counties. This day will be filled with team work and strategy focused activities, leadership provoking exercises, strength building workshops, and fun- of course! 

Reality Check has also been busy planning for next year. With a new year comes recruitment and new members! Reality Check is working on formulating a strategy to equip new members with all the knowledge and skills that they need to become awesome youth leaders! 

If you know of any youth in Chemung, Schuyler, or Steuben Counties who would be interested in participating in this free youth leadership program, contact Samantha White at (607)737-2858 or

Any Local Teen Can Join Reality Check!

Legislative Education Day 2019

Reality Check is a state-wide youth program for teens 13-18 years old. Reality Check of Chemung, Schuyler, and Steuben is hosted at Corning Painted-Post High School, Ernie Davis Academy, and Watkins Glen Central School. 

Reality Check seeks to build leadership, problem solving, and communication skills while working towards tobacco reform locally, state wide, and nationally. Youth work alongside STTAC to educate their peers and the community about effective change surrounding tobacco. Teens speak with their legislators, the media, and local government to create positive change and make a difference here at home.

Reality Check youth are leaders among their peers and positive change agents in our local community. If you know of any youth in Chemung, Schuyler, or Steuben counties who would be interested in participating in this free youth leadership program, contact Samantha White at (607)737-2858 or


Thursday, August 22nd from 10am-12pm - STTAC Coalition meeting at the Chemung County Health Department. Open to all!


WETM - New York Raises Tobacco/e-cig Sale Age to 21
Click below to view the article.

WETM - July 11, 2019
Click below to view the article.

Here in New York State, tobacco companies spend more than a half a million dollars every day to place promotions in stores where kids can see them. And the more they see, the more likely they are to start smoking.


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STTAC Contacts
Sarah Robbins, Program Director | (607)737-2028 X73480
Michelle Larimore, Community Engagement Coordinator | (607)737-2028 X73482
Samantha WhiteReality Check Coordinator | (607)737-2028 X73483
Michele AustinProgram Assistant | (607)737-2028 X73481

Our mailing address is:
Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition
103 Washington Street
Elmira, NY 14901

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