A Closer Look - Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition News

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

September 2019
Volume 8, Issue 9

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




Community Initiative Inspires Local Policy
With the help of local teens, the Village of Montour Falls
goes tobacco-free.

Because the negative health effects of secondhand smoke exposure are well documented, one of the most important steps a community can take to improve the health of residents is to create more tobacco-free places. The Village of Montour Falls has taken this step by passing a tobacco-free policy for all Village recreation areas. This policy, which includes electronic delivery devices such as e-cigarettes, covers all facilities, parks, trails, open space, and other property owned, leased, rented, contracted, used, or controlled by the Village of Montour Falls.

This policy is the result of a community initiative, led by Montour Falls teens. The Village Board voted to pursue a tobacco-free policy after hearing a presentation from local Boy Scouts and Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs members, Aidan Thurston and Gabriel Grover, on the findings of a cigarette butt clean-up conducted on Village property.

Aidan Thurston said of the project, “It is great that we were able to help create a tobacco-free outdoors policy for the Village of Montour Falls. Kids now have a healthier place to play in our community.”

He continued, “I am grateful to the Village of Montour Falls board members for working with us to create this policy. It feels amazing to experience and know that teens can make a difference in our community.”

Prohibiting tobacco consumption and use at outdoor public facilities will help protect visitors, especially children who are easily influenced by adults, from unhealthy behavior and dangerous exposure to secondhand smoke. Additionally, these policies will prevent cigarette butts and filters, most of which never decompose and can harm plants, grass and animals, leech into streams, or cause fires at park and recreation facilities, from being left behind by tobacco users.

In August, Aidan and Gabriel assisted the Village Public Works Department with hanging up the new tobacco-free signage, provided for free by the Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition.

Gabriel Grover stated, “Getting the chance to actually physically hang the signs really made the tobacco-free policy change real for us. Helping to make any healthy changes for our community feels great.”

If you would like to get involved and help make your community a healthier place to live, work, and play, contact us at (607)737-2858.


Rural Tobacco Use & Tobacco Advertising
While smoking rates are declining, significant disparities in smoking and tobacco use between groups still exist. 

While smoking rates nationally declined to 14% in 2017, significant disparities in smoking and tobacco use between groups still exist. Data from the 2007-2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that adults who live in rural areas are more likely to smoke cigarettes (24.1% vs 21%, respectively) and use smokeless tobacco (5.6% vs 2.3%, respectively) than adults living in urban areas. Differentiating between the tobacco usage trends in rural and urban populations can help provide a framework for understanding policy efficaciousness and why certain patterns exist. The Counter Tobacco new evidence summary explains the trends in tobacco use between adults living in rural areas and those in urban areas as well as what point-of-sale tobacco control policies may help best address rural tobacco use.
There are many factors that influence higher rural tobacco use rates at the community and structural level. This rural-urban gap is characterized by factors including level of education, income, race, occupations, policy coverage gaps, as well as cultural and familial social norms. 

Current best and promising practices in tobacco control policy may not affect all populations with the same intensity or efficacy, and may need modifications to account for the impacts of rural residency on tobacco use prevalence. While more research is needed to further understand this divide and the best ways to address it, existing research points to some ideas both for particular policy strategies and ways of designing and implementing programs and policies that may better address tobacco use in rural areas. In the evidence summary, find key recommendations for future policy efforts in rural areas. Read the evidence summary to learn more about rural tobacco use and the point of sale here

Counter Tobacco: Rural Tobacco Use & The Point Of Sale

Local Reality Check Update

As Summer is winding down and the school year is about to start back up, Reality Check still remains hard at work! Reality Check partnered with the Chemung County Youth Bureau SPOT program to do some education on smoke-free media! SPOT youth created educational smoke-free media posters. Their artwork was on display at their movie theater takeover at the Elmira Heights Theater for their showing of The Greatest Showman. 

Three Reality Check youth helped out with Tobacco-Free Broome and Tioga County's Community Fun Day! This day was focused on motivating people to take advantage of a great local park while learning about the impact that tobacco has on our community in many different ways. Youth led and participated in the educational stations while engaging the public and having fun! 

Reality Check youth also came together at the Chemung County Health Department to take part in a regional meeting. This meeting consisted of strength building, confidence boosting, and honing in their skills as youth leaders. The group ended the day by setting some goals for the upcoming year. Reality Check youth are excited to put their knowledge and skills to use and set our plans in motion! 

Any Local Teen Can Join Reality Check!

Legislative Education Day 2019

Reality Check is a statewide 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 spwhite@chemungcountyny.gov


September 12 - 5-7pm - Watkins Glen School District Open House
September 14 - 12-4pm - Steuben County Strong Kids Safe Kids
September 14 - 10am-1pm - Schuyler County Fit Fest
September 16 - 6-8pm - CPP High School Open House
September 17 - 3:15-4:15pm - Ernie Davis Academy Reality Check meeting
September 18 - 3:15-4:15pm - Watkins Glen Reality Check meeting
September 18 - 6-8pm - CPP Middle School Open House
September 19 - 3:15-4:15pm - CPP Reality Check meeting
September 21 - 12-6pm - Corning Harvest Festival


Star Gazette and The Leader - August 4, 2019

WETM - August 20, 2019
Local Reality Check youth gather for regional meeting
Click below to view the article.

WENY - August 21, 2019
Tobacco-free policy in Village of Montour Falls
recreation areas
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
SarahRobbins@chemungcountyny.gov | (607)737-2028 X73480
Michelle Larimore, Community Engagement Coordinator
MLarimore@chemungcountyny.gov | (607)737-2028 X73482
Samantha White, Reality Check Coordinator
SPWhite@chemungcountyny.gov | (607)737-2028 X73483
Michele Austin, Program Assistant
MAustin@chemungcountyny.gov | (607)737-2028 X73481

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

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