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Group Honors Anti-tobacco Advocates

The Rip Van Winkle Tobacco-Free Action last week held its annual recognition dinner, honoring groups and individuals for their work in discouraging smoking cigarettes and tobacco use.

“Your work is being effective and you should keep it up,” said Assemblyman Peter Lopez, who spoke to the group. “You are not telling people what to do with their lives, you are just educating them so they can make educated decisions.”

Director Karen dePeyster said there has been significant progress in the battle against smoking cigarettes and tobacco use. In 1964, she said, nearly 50% of adults were smokers.

“Yesterday, we learned from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) the new smoking cigarettes rates,” dePeyster said. “The national rate is now 17.9%, and the New York State rate is down to 15.5%. So fifty years ago, 4.5 people out of ten were smokers. Now, 1.5 in ten smoke.”

She also pointed out that something that seems so basic now – that smoking cigarettes is not allowed in restaurants – was just a pipe dream a decade ago.

“Ten years ago, we were imagining what it would be like to go to a restaurant and not be assaulted by smoke,” dePeyster said. “In 2003, the New York State legislature passed the Clean Indoor Air Act, and now we all take it for granted.”

The ceremony’s guest speaker was Kim Alessi, a former tobacco representative for Philip Morris, the leading tobacco manufacturer. She outlined the billions of dollars the industry spends on marketing their product each year.

According to Alessi, tobacco companies spend $12.49 billion on marketing in the United States. Comparatively, junk food and soda companies spend $4.5 billion, and alcohol companies spend $3.13 billion.

And, she said, the companies may deny it, but they do market to children. She said that company memos repeatedly said one of their key target markets are 14 to 24 year olds.

Alessi also told the heart-wrenching story of a man she met while marketing her product at a convenience store. He was at the counter purchasing cigarettes, and she saw “he had a gaping hole in his throat”, and had lost his larynx to smoking cigarettes.

“This drug, this cigarette is so addictive, this man continued to smoke cigarettes even after losing his larynx,” Alessi said.

This year, Rip Van Winkle Tobacco-Free Action handed out awards to more two dozen organizations that have made policy changes in the areas of tobacco-free outdoor air, smoke-free housing and tobacco marketing.

Eighteen towns and villages were honored for their work in making various outdoor spaces – like parks and playgrounds – smoke-free. They include the towns of Claverack, Ghent, Ancram, Austerlitz, Germantown, Greenville, Cairo, Copake, Chatham, Kinderhook, Livingston, Stockport and Catskill, and the villages of Coxsackie and Tannersville. Also promoting tobacco-free outdoor air were the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse, the Childcare Council of Columbia and Greene Counties, and Columbia Opportunities and Head Start.

Five companies were honored for making housing smoke-free, including Belmont Management, Kaaterskill Manor, Rivertown Senior Apartments, Hudson Terrace Apartments and Mountainview Apartments.

Leading the way against tobacco marketing were Hannaford Supermarkets and the Hudson and Taconic Hills SADD Chapters.

The term cigarettes, as normally employed, refers to a tobacco cigarette, but can be utilized like devices holding in other herbaceous plants, such as eugenia caryophyllatums. A cigarette is differentiated from a cigar by its modest sizing, utilization of treated leafage, and paper wrap, which is usually white hot, though other coloring materials are sometimes usable. Cigars are mostly compiled totally of whole-leaf tobacco plant.

Rates of cheap smokes changes widely, and have altered substantially over the course of human history since cigarettes were 1st wide used in the mid-19th century. While rates of smoke have over time leveled off or turned down in the highly developed world, they continue to up-rise in evolving states. Nicotine, the main psychotropic chemical substance in baccy and therefore cigarettes, has been shown to be psychologically habit forming, although it does not generate a physiologic addiction.

Cheap cigarettes usage by pregnant women has also been shown to stimulate birth defects, including mental and physical disabilities.