TANNERSVILLE — Dr. Lee McGunnigle, mayor of the village of Tannersville, was recently honored at the annual Partners in Prevention breakfast sponsored by Tobacco-Free Action of Columbia & Greene Counties for measures taken by the village to restrict tobacco sales near the Hunter-Tannersville High/Middle School on Main Street. The event, held at Solaris Hudson on April 27, was attended by public health educators, advocates, community leaders and elected officials from both counties.
In her introduction, Karen dePeyster, Program Director, described the challenge of decreasing the impact of tobacco marketing on smoking rates. “Making tobacco products less visible and accessible and making tobacco use more expensive and less convenient are effective ways to prevent youth smoking and to motivate adult smokers to quit,” she said. “We want our local leaders to know that there are legal actions they can take, and that other municipalities have already taken, to reduce the appeal and availability of tobacco.”
In February of this year, the village of Tannersville adopted a local law that prohibits the sale of tobacco in stores within 1000 feet of any school. Other municipalities that have a similar restriction are Ulster and Sullivan counties, the city of Newburgh, and the town of Niskayuna. Dr. McGunnigle said that he was proud that his village was on this list and urged elected leaders to consider what actions can be taken in their own communities.
Raising the legal age of sale for tobacco to 21 is another option that is gaining momentum. To date, New York City, Suffolk and seven upstate counties, including Albany and Schenectady, have adopted the measure. There is also a bill in both chambers of the Legislature that would raise the age of sale to 21 for the entire state.
Catskill Community Center also participated in the event. Jaci Del Vescovo, Youth Coordinator for the Center, and Beth Horton, Director, presented an overview of programs for both youth and adults that are offered at the Center and some that are in the planning stages.