Ulster County to Partner with the Tobacco Free Action Coalition and Local
Communities to Protect Our Children
New Paltz, NY: Ulster County Executive Mike Hein announced a strategic partnership between
Ulster County and the Tobacco Free Action Coalition of Ulster County (TFAC). The partnership
is designed to encourage local officials to adopt regulations which would restrict the display and
promotion of tobacco products at retail locations as well as to promote tobacco free public parks
Approximately, one-third of the municipalities in Ulster County, including the County itself and
the City of Kingston, have already adopted regulations, which restrict tobacco products in public
parks and playgrounds. A recent telephone survey, conducted by TFAC, indicated that over 78%
of Ulster County residents favor restricting retail tobacco promotions and keeping public
recreation spaces “smoke free”.
“There are enormous health risks and costs associated with smoking. Yet, despite these risks big
tobacco spends more on promotion and marketing than the junk food, soda and alcohol industries
combined. This huge marketing push influences our children and sets the stage for bad habits that
can last a lifetime. Likewise, smoking in our public recreation areas not only poses a serious
health hazard, it also sends a message to our children that smoking is acceptable. It is my goal to
make Ulster County the healthiest county in New York State. Discouraging tobacco use by our
children will lead to healthier lifestyles as adults,” said County Executive Hein.
The County Executive was joined at an event in New Paltz by Ulster County’s Public Health
Director, Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck; Ellen Reinhard, Director of the Tobacco Free Coalition of Ulster
County; Maria Rice, Superintendent of the New Paltz Central School District and Betsy
Sinsapaugh, the former Director of Prevention Connections.
Dr. Hasbrouck said, “The most important predictor of adult smoking is smoking as a youth.
Therefore, it is critical that we work together as a community to reduce and eliminate risk factors
for the early initiation of smoking. This alliance with TFAC is an important step towards
reducing youth exposure to unhealthy role models, and protecting our young people from tobacco
industry marketing. An ounce of primary prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
“Studies show that tobacco product advertising and display in stores gives youth the impression
that tobacco products are easily accessible,” said Ellen Reinhard, TFAC Director. “And they are
even more influential than peer pressure in getting kids to start smoking. Also, tobacco free parks
and playgrounds make sense because breathing even a little secondhand smoke can be dangerous,
cigarette butt litter is toxic, the clean up is costly to taxpayers, and children model adult
behaviors. I am looking forward to working with Ulster County on protecting our youth, from the
dangers of tobacco.”
The Tobacco Free Action Coalition of Ulster County (TFAC) is one of 35 Community
Partnerships across New York State funded through a grant from the New York State Tobacco
Control Program. TFAC is dedicated to lowering the prevalence of tobacco use through
community programs in prevention education, cessation, and advocacy; making the community a
healthier place to live, work and play. Its goals are to inform community leaders and the public,
about the dangers and social costs of tobacco and change the historic acceptability
of tobacco. TFAC engages community leaders to address tobacco industry advertising, and
encourages the adoption of effective tobacco-free policies in indoor and outdoor environments in
order to eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke and the negative influence tobacco use has on
children. For more information, visit the TFAC online at:
1. A summary of the recently conducted TFAC Survey of Ulster County residents’ attitude
and behaviors toward smoking.
2. Statistics, compiled by TFAC, on tobacco marketing and smoking in public places.