Teen initiative leads to new smoke free policy in Montour Falls
MONTOUR FALLS, N.Y. (WENY) -- The air will be a bit fresher next time you visit Montour Falls. The village recently adopted a new smoke-free policy for public spaces.
It applies to all public spaces owned, operated, and/or leased by the village. County officials explain how the initiative goes beyond benefiting the environment.
"Children model behavior that they see in adults so it's really important for children to have a place to play where they wouldn't want to be exposed to second hand smoke and where their not going to be exposed to the social norms that could be harmful in the future," says Ellie Fausold, Public Health Specialist in Schuyler County.
The change was also spearheaded by local teens. Boy scouts Aidan Thurston and Gabriel Glover gave a presentation to the village board about their findings following a cigarette butt cleanup effort last year.
"Just last week they were able to put up signs for the new tobacco free policy in the park so they were really instrumental in this entire process, which is important because youth are making decisions for their own community which is really powerful," Fausold says.
"It's really inspiring to work with youth who have been so driven and stayed with this initiative that we've worked on for well over a year now, so I think it's just inspiring to see young people who are stepping up and being leaders so that they can see the change, and be a part of the change that they want to see in their community," adds Michelle Larimore, Public Education Coordinator with the Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition.
Once the village board officially adopted the policy, the community-based group was able to access brand new signs to indicate where those smoke free areas are located, all for free.
"The Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition is a state-funded program through the dept. of health and one of our initiatives is to provide support for businesses and municipalities that are looking to create tobacco-free areas. So one of the perks of our program is that we can provide free signage for anybody who's willing to adopt a policy," Larimore explains.
For businesses or other municipalities which may be interested in adopting a similar policy, additional information about the Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition can be found here: http://www.sttac.org/initiatives#.XV8VkuhKiUk