TFMC honors Caz College

TFMC honors Cazenovia College

Cazenovia College's students and staff will be celebrating the campus' new smoke free policy with music and games on March 20.

Tobacco Free Madison County is a local program funded by the New York State Health Department's Bureau of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control. Among its main goals are de-normalizing tobacco use and reducing exposure to secondhand smoke. It engages local stakeholders, educates leaders and the public to mobilize the community to strengthen existing policies and enact new ones to prevent and reduce tobacco use, limit the tobacco industry's access to community members and to limit opportunities for exposure to secondhand smoke. It is not an anti-smoker organization, but instead seeks to oppose tobacco industry manipulation and promote a healthy community.

The US Surgeon General recently evaluated available scientific data and concluded that scientists agree that breathing secondhand smoke is harmful.

"Some people think scientists can't come to a consensus and that the data is vague or unproven. That is untrue. There is one reason people believe that--the tobacco industry has been creating that myth for over 30 years. The US Justice Department recently ruled that big tobacco violated racketeering laws--committing conspiracy and fraud--when they paid scientists lie about secondhand smoke," said Audrey Benenati, MS, Project Coordinator of Tobacco Free Madison County. "The Environmental Protection Agency has classified secondhand tobacco smoke as Group A carcinogen--meaning even small amounts can cause cancer."

This past fall, the college implemented a policy completely banning smoking on campus. Benenati says this shows Cazenovia College's commitment to its students, staff, and local community.

Other local organizations, such as Oneida Healthcare and Morrisville College, have enacted smoking restrictions too. These recent changes reflect the community's growing concern about the health effects of environmental tobacco smoke.

From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on March 20 in Hubbard Hall, students and staff are invited to listen to music, meet radio personality The Single Guy, and pick up some free gifts. There will games and prizes.

In addition, attendees will be encouraged to participate in Tobacco Free Madison County's online advocacy program, known as E-Advocates. Computers will be set up so people can write letters to the Madison County Board of Supervisors to express their support of restrictions on tobacco advertising.

Educational materials about tobacco will be available, and smokers will be encouraged to sign up for a local quit smoking class.

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