Posted September 14, 2010


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

and playgrounds.

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.