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Students push for smoking ban at Genesee County parks

By Howard B. Owens


Press release:

Students from Genesee County’s Reality Check program have noticed a big problem of littered cigarettes scattered all across county parks. So they’ve decided to do something about it.

This Saturday, Sept. 30, with plastic bags in hand, the students will go through DeWitt Recreation Area and pick up all the cigarette butts littering the park. The event will kick off at 10 a.m.

Reality Check is New York State’s youth-led movement aimed at exposing the deceptive marketing practices of the tobacco industry and supporting a tobacco-free generation for their peers.

Shelly Wolanske, youth engagement coordinator at Tobacco-Free GLOW, said the students got the idea when they were working out in the park this summer and noticed all the smokers and the butts they were leaving behind. The group wants their generation to be tobacco-free, and all citizens of Genesee County to breathe cleaner air when they are enjoying a picnic, bike ride or play time.

“I have trouble breathing when people around me are smoking,” said Ben Streeter, a freshman at Notre Dame High School. “Plus, we see so many cigarette butts near the playground where little kids play.”

To prevent children in the community from feeling those same effects due to secondhand smoke, Streeter and his fellow Reality Check advocates decided to rally for smoking bans in all the parks in Genesee County. Their Cigarette Butt Pickup on Saturday is the first event they are sponsoring to raise awareness for a smoking ban.

Wolanske said she and the students will take the plastic bags of cigarette butts collected with them to meetings with Genesee County elected officials to discuss a possible ban in the future. If Genesee County declares its parks tobacco-free, they would be following the lead of the City of Batavia, as well as other counties in New York State, including nearby Erie County.

Scott Chismar

Wow! Great job Shelly Wolanske! I wish you and the students the best of luck.

If successful in getting the County to ban smoking in the parks, may I suggest also that any violations of the ban shall be paid in fines that will go to further the goals of programs like yours.

Sep 27, 2017, 5:38pm Permalink
Frank Bartholomew

I hope every smoker in this country quits,can't wait to see how the govt.makes up the lost tax revenue.I think they should raise the tax on alcohol,look at all the mayhem associated with that habit.

Sep 27, 2017, 8:29pm Permalink
Lisa Woltz

Don't forget the farmer's. tobacco, grain.... No biggie. But I'd still love to see something not given to the Schumer and DeBlasio's Illegal alien kids in the cities he's protecting.

I didn't insult them Howard. I called them what they've been called for over 50 years that I've been alive. It's not against the law... YET

Sep 27, 2017, 11:30pm Permalink

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