• Tobacco-free Group Launches New Campaign
  • The Community Partnerships for a Tobacco Free New York has launched a campaign to educate New Yorkers about the benefits of tobacco-free outdoor recreational areas: "Keep butts away from where we play!"

    The campaign helps raise awareness of the environmental impact of cigarettes litter, dangers of secondhand smoke cigarettes and influence on children when tobacco use is not restricted.

    Tobacco litter is poisonous to children and wildlife. Discarded cigarette butts are the most common form of litter. Studies show they are toxic, slow to decompose and costly to remove. Cigarette butts have been found in the stomachs of fish, whales, birds and other marine animals and can cause digestive blockages. Children routinely pick up these toxic butts and try to put them in their mouths.

    “The Community Partnership has designed a paid media campaign to educate communities about why we need to adopt more tobacco free outdoor policies,” said Kevin Keenan, Genesee County program coordinator for Smoke Free NOW; a program of GCASA. “Family recreation for children should not mean having to play among cigarette butts or being exposed to secondhand smoke."

    The U.S. Surgeon General has declared that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

    “When we consider that children have smaller lungs than adults and consequently breathe in 50 percent more air pollution, it’s clear that we need to do everything we can to expand smoke-free outdoor areas so we can reduce exposure and prevent tobacco-caused disease," said Dr. Irwin Berlin, board chair of the American Lung Association in New York.

    Public support for outdoor tobacco use restrictions is growing. Currently, outdoor tobacco use policies have been enacted in more than 280 local municipalities throughout New York State. Local Community Partnerships can provide sample policies, signage and/or assistance in creating outdoor tobacco-use policies.