Here at Tobacco-Free Erie-Niagara, one of the three regions that make up Tobacco-Free Western New York, we’ve had a very successful year in tobacco control efforts. We owe much of this accomplishment to our amazing partners in Erie and Niagara County. From teachers and legislators to youth and landlords, they’ve allowed us to create a healthier environment throughout the region. To celebrate our success, we share the top ten moments in our tobacco control work this year.
- Rich Products kicked off the year right by going smoke free in 2015. Great example of a large employer promoting a healthy workplace!
- We added some fantastic new team members to our TFWNY team in 2015. Lindsay Amico joined Tobacco-Free Erie-Niagara in early May and has been working to create a tobacco-free generation ever since. Gretchen Galley also joined Tobacco-Free WNY in July as our new media specialist. Not to mention, she has worked tirelessly to get our new website up and running just in time for the end of 2015.
- We are proud to recognize several local municipalities that have passed smoke-free parks policies in 2015. These include: the Town of Niagara, Lockport, the Village of Youngstown, North Tonawanda and the Town of Marilla.
- The Erie County Legislature included e-cigarettes in the Erie County Clean Indoor Air Act, March 2015. This prohibits the smoking of e-cigarettes and like products in public places. Thank you to Clean Indoor Air Act supporters and Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and Erie County Health Commissioner, Gale Burstein!
- We’ve established several Reality Check groups in the past few months in Alden, Lockport, Buffalo and Holland. They’ve already had a huge impact on their local communities. And a few of our students will be applying to the Youth Advocate of the Year award. (fingers crossed!)
- We participated in a protest against Phillip Morris International in NYC in May of 2015 with youth from Reality Check of Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Allegany County. Next year we hope to take this to the streets of Richmond, Virginia!
- In July, Tobacco-Free Erie-Niagara hosted a Smoke-Free Housing Forum at Templeton Landing Restaurant. Several health officials and landlords shared their success stories in adopting a smoke-free policy for their buildings. Our team hopes that HUD will make smoke-free housing a mandate soon.
- Reality Check youth from Alden had a great time at Youth Summit in July at Colgate University. They were able to go to fantastic seminars led by tobacco control experts, as well as meet fellow Reality Check youth across New York State. This experience inspired them to do a Point-of-Sale survey in Alden and create a presentation which will be shared with several stakeholders in their community. We’re very proud of them!
- Several college campuses are in the process of going tobacco-free! Jenna Brinkworth, our Community Engagement Coordinator, is working with a great group of Colleges Against Cancer students at Canisius College to pursue a policy. Medaille is in the process of establishing a tobacco-free policy and Daemen is considering one also.
- The Great American Smokeout in November allowed us to create a lot of hype around quitting. Lindsay gave presentations to hundreds of students at North Park Middle and Clarence High School. Not to mention Harvey Austin, Holland, and Alden all hosted cigarette butt clean ups in their neighborhoods.
Thank you to everyone who made 2015 a great success! Happy holidays…and can’t wait to see what happens in 2016 with our great momentum, community leaders, and the TFWNY team!
Posted by Lindsay Amico and Jenna Brinkworth