More Important than sexual harrassment cover ups….corruption….business fleeing this state because of the highest in the nation cost of doing business….ASSEMBLYWOMAN GALEF, joined by supporters, ANNOUNCES LEGISLATION TO BAN SALE OF TOBACCO AND RELATED PRODUCTS IN SCHOOL ZONES

For Immediate Release Contact: Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (914) 941-1111

Assemblywoman Galef Announces Legislation to Ban the Sale of Tobacco and Related Products from School Zones

Galef Leads Efforts to Reduce Youth Access to Illegal Purchase

of Cigarettes and Smoking Paraphernalia

(June 14, 2013) Today, at a press conference in Ossining, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef announced her plans to introduce legislation to the state assembly that will make it illegal to sell cigarettes, tobacco, tobacco related products, and smoking paraphernalia in school zones. The related products and paraphernalia include, but are not limited to: hookah, disposable hookah, rolling and blunt papers, electronic cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco. This bill is based on a large body of research which includes statistics showing the influence of density and proximity to a school zone of tobacco retailers and exposure to tobacco marketing on increases in youth smoking. Also shown is that youth who start smoking when they are 18 years old or younger are more likely to become addicted and continue use into adulthood.

“Businesses should not be selling tobacco, tobacco related products and smoking paraphernalia so close to a location in which the majority of the population is not legally able to purchase these products. Along with the research to back it up, it is common sense that such easy access to cigarettes can lead to more youth smoking, especially when there are retailers so close to the schools in which youth spend most of their waking hours,” said Galef. “It is so important to look at the factors that influence young people starting down a path of addiction and abuse of tobacco and other controlled substances, and we know students do not just use the smoking paraphernalia for tobacco. This bill will help protect the health and safety of all New Yorkers in a preventative manner.”

Galef’s proposed bill will contain language partially influenced by a model ordinance created by the Center for Public Health and Tobacco Policy as well as various local municipal laws that have been implemented throughout the state and the nation. Precedent for this bill comes from state law banning the sale of alcohol from within 200 feet of a school building and increased penalties for selling controlled substances within 1,000 feet of the real property boundary lines of a school. Galef’s bill will propose a fair compromise of these numbers that will still protect students and youth from the influences of tobacco retailers, by proposing a ban on the sale of the aforementioned tobacco products from within 200 feet of the real property boundary lines of a school or within direct line of sight of the school property.

Joining Assemblywoman Galef to support her efforts on the state level were representatives from county government, Schools, Law Enforcement, as well as from organizations that advocate against any sort of substance use or abuse by youth.

Alice Joselow, Co- Chair and Coordinator, Ossining Communities that Care, said, “This bill is in direct response to our local concerns related to the sale of tobacco products as well as drug paraphernalia in the vicinity of our local high school. We support Assemblywoman Galef’s efforts as the research shows that if a teen starts drinking or smoking before age 15, they are 5 times more likely to become addicted to a substance by age 21. Anything that we can do to limit access to these products for teens is a proactive prevention strategy to protect them.”

“Tobacco companies spend an enormous amount of money marketing their products in stores. While there are other factors that contribute to youth smoking, tobacco marketing in retail stores can influence youth smoking rates. The absence of tobacco retailers in areas children frequent will help prevent young people from picking up on environmental cues to start smoking that might come from an abundance of tobacco retail outlets that offer access to tobacco,” said Maureen Kenney, Director, POW’R Against Tobacco of the American Lung Association of the Northeast, a community coalition of organizations dedicated to reducing the risk of tobacco related illnesses.

Detective Edward Walker, the Ossining Youth Officer with the Ossining Police Department works with students every day. He said, “The police department and I wanted to be behind the bill, to be proactive instead of reactive, to try to head off any negative activities that may hurt the education of our students. I work with students 90 percent of the time and I get to observe their behaviors on a regular basis. I know that with less access to tobacco or anything negative for that matter to them and their peers will help out in that matter.”

Josh Mandel, Principal of Ossining High School spoke about his support for the bill as a store selling these products is in direct line of sight of the High School.

Ellen Moorehouse, Executive Director, Student Assistance Services Corporation, said, “We applaud this legislation because it will restrict access to tobacco products and other products that can be used to smoke other drugs. Restricting access is a crucial ingredient in preventing alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.”

Diane Moore, Youth Program Specialist/Reality Check, Putnam County Youth Bureau, said, “One of the Reality Check members from Putnam, a 13 year old girl named Susan Adeyeye said, ‘Tobacco has not only affected my peers, but also their younger siblings and relatives. Younger kids think it is cool because their older friends and adults are doing it and they see it all around them.’ Susan really sums up why it is so important to do all we can to keep cigarettes and tobacco products, and places that promote them as being cool, away from kids at these vulnerable ages. Children are far more susceptible to tobacco marketing than adults; the bright, candy-colored packaging, the cool fonts, and catchy names. At a time when they are learning their ABC’s they’re learning tobacco brand names and logos. Paraphernalia that’s displayed alongside tobacco products is brightly colored and often shaped like cute little animals. Tobacco and tobacco paraphernalia sales near schools are sending our children the wrong message; that tobacco and drug use is normal and okay. Schools that have more tobacco retailers near them have higher rates of smoking among their students. I am pleased the Assemblywoman is addressing this issue from many angles.”

Retired Detective John Girolamo, Ossining Police, said, “As a retired DARE Instructor, current Prevention Specialist, and Chairperson for Drug Awareness for BPOE Elks of the South District, I am totally in favor of this legislation. Exposure of tobacco and especially smoking paraphernalia, such as rolling papers, hookah, and “bongs” have absolutely no place adjacent to, or near any school. We already have “Drug Free School Zones” and this would follow suit. Nicotine, which is the most addictive drug is not legal in New York for anyone under the age of 18, so why expose them to it? I applaud Assemblywoman Galef for this effort.”

Ross Beroff, Former Lung Ambassador for the American Lung Association, and a graduating Briarcliff High School Senior, said, “As a high school senior, I see first hand how easily influenced teenagers are. I don’t need statistics or research to prove that if you have a tobacco retailer so close to a school, students will be more intrigued about trying tobacco and more likely to attempt to buy or have someone buy tobacco and other similar products for them.”

Elaine Santos, Coordinator, Putnam Communities that Care Coalition, said, “In Putnam County, the Communities that Care Coalition is concerned about tobacco sales and paraphernalia and its proximity to our youth and schools. A quarter of Putnam County 12th graders smoked tobacco in the past 30 days which is above the national rate of use. We know that tobacco marketing and accessibility are directly related to these numbers. We thank and applaud Assemblywoman Sandy Galef’s support for tobacco prevention and for putting our youth first.”

Ellen Moorehouse, Executive Director, Student Assistance Services Corporation, said, “We applaud this legislation because it will restrict access to tobacco products and other products that can be used to smoke other drugs. Restricting access is a crucial ingredient in preventing alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.”

Catherine Borgia, Westchester County Legislator, who was called away on an emergency, said: “We know the negative health impacts of smoking –tobacco or any other substance–are greatly magnified for children and teenagers. Banning the sale of smoking paraphernalia, such as rolling papers, pipes and other items, in the immediate vicinity of schools makes sense, in the same way we ban the sale of alcohol in the immediate area of schools.”

“The Lung Association applauds Assemblymember Galef for her efforts to protect our kids from tobacco,” said Jeff Seyler, President and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast, who was unavailable to attend the press conference. He continued, “This legislation would be one more step forward in the fight against the predatory practices of the tobacco industry who continue their efforts to recruit new, younger smokers so that the industry can stay in business,” said Michael Seilback, Vice President, Public Policy & Communications, American Lung Association of the Northeast.

Another supporter who was unable to attend the press conference was Ray Sanchez, Superintendent of the Ossining Union Free School District, who said, “I believe it is critically important that all our students have a space that is free of temptation to purchase cigarettes and other related items. As a community, we need to protect the health of our students.”

Other supporters in attendance at the press conference were Rebecca Urquiola from Student Assistance Services; Suzanne Chieca, Ellen Hackett, Danielle Gamar, Alison Kersh, and Angela Alvarado, all Student Assistance Services Counselors from schools in Assemblywoman Galef’s district; Didi Raxworthy, Director, Pow’r Cessation Center/American Lung Association; Detective Lieutenant William Sullivan and Sergeant Ray Debenedictus, Ossining Police Department; Gayle Marchica, President, Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce; Carina Scorcia representing Westchester County Legislator Catherine Borgia; Judy Mezey, Assistant Director for Community Based Programs, Student Assistance Services; and Pat Tomasi from Putnam County. Each of them support making it more difficult for students to have access to tobacco and drug related products.

The bill to ban the sale of tobacco and related products from school zones will be drafted and introduced by Assemblywoman Galef in the coming weeks with the help of the many groups who support this legislation.

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Bazzo 06/15/13

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