I would like to congratulate Fort Plain Central School and Canajoharie Central School on recently updating their tobacco-free school policies. With technical assistance and resources from the Tobacco-Free Healthy Schools Program, a free program offered to schools through the New York State Tobacco Control Program, Fort Plain and Canajoharie have added additional policy elements to make their policies more comprehensive and 100 percent tobacco-free.
Despite tobacco use being prohibited on school grounds, 38 percent of New York middle and high school students reported seeing at least one adult smoking on school grounds in the past 30 days (NYS Youth Tobacco Survey, 2008).
So now it's our turn to help support our schools by remembering and reminding others that the law prohibits tobacco use (of any kind) on school property: everywhere (including athletic fields, parking lots and playgrounds) and at all times (including during spring break and the summer). By working together we can provide a healthier environment for everyone, provide positive role modeling and decrease exposure to secondhand smoke, which many people don't realize impairs a child's ability to learn and puts them at an increased risk for difficulties with such things as reading and math.
Congratulations to the many other schools locally, and around the state, that have developed and implemented strong, comprehensive tobacco-free policies, including: Amsterdam, Gloversville, Mayfield, Broadalbin-Perth, Northville, Fonda-Fultonville, Oppenheim-Ephratah, and HFM BOCES. Congratulations also to those school districts that are currently reviewing their policies with the Tobacco-Free Healthy Schools Program: Johnstown, St. Johnsville and Wheelerville.
Coordinator of Tobacco-Free Healthy Schools Program for Catholic Charities
of Fulton & Montgomery Counties