A Tobacco Free (T-Free) Zone
is a posted outdoor area that is intended to be free
of smoking and tobacco smoke, free of advertisements and promotional
displays for tobacco products, and free of smokeless tobacco use.
Free Zone resolution passes Tompkins County Legislature, March
of smoking and tobacco smoke...”
More than ever, individuals are seeking to avoid exposure to tobacco
smoke because of its known health
hazards. Posting building entrances and other public areas where
people linger — picnic or outdoor seating areas, storefronts
or shop windows, outdoor waiting areas, viewing stands or bleachers
— as a T-Free Zone provides a welcoming assurance for
adults that a small step has been taken to minimize the likelihood
that they, their children and their pets will encounter tobacco smoke.
of advertisements and promotional displays; free of smokeless tobacco
Children and teens are easily influenced by advertising and by adult
behaviors. And underage youth are drawn to the stores with more ads
figuring they are the easiest places to buy tobacco.*
Every day, thousands of kids try tobacco for the first time. Nearly
half become regular tobacco users.** T-Free
Zones provide a welcoming assurance for parents that a small
step has been taken to minimize youth encounters with these influences.
Post a T-Free Zone sticker to show your support for a community-wide
effort to decrease the social and economic burden of tobacco use in
to view a fact sheet on the economic burden of tobacco use
in Tompkins County
The T-Free Zone campaign kicks off in July 2006.
• Read the Press Release (July 10
• Read about the direct mail campaign
• Read Frequently
Asked Questions (FAQ) about the
• Make sure you get stickers and information when
available. Use our registration form
to send your request.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tompkins County Health Department
July 10, 2006
Ted Schiele, 607-274-6712, firstname.lastname@example.org
Theresa Lyczko, 607-274-6714, email@example.com
Health Department encourages smoke free entrances with its Tobacco
Free Zone program
Seventy-five percent of Tompkins County residents say they are bothered
by secondhand tobacco smoke, and nine-in-ten consider it harmful. Now,
the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) is launching a new program
that takes one more step to help residents and visitors avoid unwanted
exposure to tobacco smoke. The program asks businesses and employers
to designate certain outdoor areas such as doorways, entryways, walkways
or seating areas as a “Tobacco Free Zone.” A mailing this
week to over twelve hundred Tompkins County worksites will include “T-Free
Zone” stickers and information about the benefits of the program.
Any business, organization or workplace may request T-Free Zone stickers,
which will be available at no charge while supplies last. The program
was developed at the TCHD by Tobacco Free Tompkins, a partnership funded
by the New York State Tobacco Control Program (NYTCP). Complete information
about the T-Free Zone program is available on the Tobacco Free Tompkins
web site, www.tompkins-co.org/wellness/tobaccofree/.
The most common place for a T-Free Zone will be building entrances
where customers and employees come and go. After the state’s Clean
Indoor Air Act (CIAA) in July 2003 eliminated indoor smoking areas and
smoking sections in bars and restaurants, smoking activity often shifted
to building entrances. Except at restaurants, outdoor areas are not
covered by either the state or Tompkins County laws. Now with the new
T-Free Zone program, businesses and employers are encouraged to post
a T-Free Zone sticker on their door to indicate their desire to keep
the outside area around the building entrance smoke free.
Goals for the T-Free Zone program are not limited to making only the
main entrance smoke free, as concern over the discomfort and health
risks brought on by secondhand tobacco smoke continues to increase.
Businesses may also consider posting exit doors, walkways, seating areas,
and outdoor venues as areas they want to keep smoke free.
A new U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on secondhand smoke, released
June 27, 2006, states that it only takes brief exposure to secondhand
smoke to cause immediate harm to the cardiovascular system and elevate
the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. The report emphasizes that
children are especially vulnerable to harm from tobacco smoke.
Public health actions to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke were first
taken over thirty years ago. The Surgeon General’s June 27 report
shows that there is no longer any scientific debate that secondhand
smoke causes serious diseases, including lung cancer, heart disease
and respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and asthma, and that the
only way to protect everyone from these health hazards is to completely
eliminate exposure. The report makes it clear that other approaches,
such as smoking and non-smoking sections and ventilation technology,
do not eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.
Smoking is still the number one preventable cause of death in the nation,
every year accounting for over 450,000 deaths nationally and 25,000
deaths in New York State. In Tompkins County, where about 18 percent
of the adult population smokes, annual health care and lost productivity
costs due to smoking total $36.1 million, and smoking-related Medicaid
payments total $2.7 million per year. To reduce the human and financial
costs TCHD and Tobacco Free Tompkins are committed to lowering the rate
of smoking in the county by helping smokers quit, and helping others
to resist starting. The T-Free Zone program is a key component of that
Businesses and employers that post tobacco free zones are doing more
than addressing the comfort and health concerns associated with secondhand
smoke. Seeing smokers and smelling tobacco smoke are strong behavioral
cues that can break the resolve of smokers who want to quit and model
behavior for youth who are drawn to try smoking. A T-Free Zone demonstrates
an interest in taking steps to limit these encounters.
Tobacco Free Tompkins (T-Free) is a partnership of community organizations
and individuals dedicated to reducing the social and economic burden
of tobacco use in Tompkins County. Tobacco Free Tompkins is a Community
Partnership of the New York State Tobacco Control Program, and is funded
by a grant to the Tompkins County Health Department from the New York
State Department of Health. The Tobacco Free Tompkins web site is www.tompkins-co.org/wellness/tobaccofree.
* Voorhees C, Yanek L, Stillman F, Becker D. Reducing
cigarette sales to minors in an urban setting: issues and opportunities
for merchant intervention. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
1998; 4:138 –142.
** Ninety percent of current smokers started before
age 18. Everyday over 4,000 kids nationwide try cigarettes for the first
time and 2,000 kids become regular smokers according to the Campaign
for Tobacco Free Kids. About one third of all youth smokers will die
prematurely from smoking-related disease.
— Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Research Center Fact
Additional TFK Fact Sheets: Fact
Sheets > Tobacco
and Kids > Smoking
Statewide, among those adults who smoke everyday,
58 percent have tried to quit. Go
to source of data (CDC.)