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Local Electorate and Community Organizations Named Champions for Tobacco Control

Recently, at this year’s Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island’s Celebrating Tobacco Control Champions Recognition Luncheon, the coalition’s Nassau Coordinator, Carol Meschkow, had the pleasure of nominating 11 honorees from Nassau County. The annual luncheon recognizes local municipalities, agencies, and individuals who have created new tobacco practices and policies to protect the public from the danger of second-hand smoke, and to help change the social norms associated with tobacco use.

Meschkow reported that Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto was recognized for his body of work in tobacco control and for establishing precedent for the Coalition’s Outdoor Air Initiative. According to Meschkow, Venditto is a committed supporter of the coalition and has done an outstanding job in communicating and educating the town’s workforce and staff on this #1 preventable cause of death.  

Further, Supervisor Kate Murray was recognized for her work in adopting a municipal plaza entryway ban to protect employees and visitors to the town hall and the municipal building from the dangers of second-hand smoke. Murray is also a longtime friend and supporter of the coalition.  

In addition, Village of Farmingdale Mayor Butch Starkie was honored as the first village approached in Nassau County by the coalition for leading the way in adopting a 20-foot entryway ban for their municipal facility and fire department. “All three elected officials are invaluable supporters, who have consistently gone above and beyond in their efforts to protect the health of their residents and safeguard our youth,” said Meschkow.

The Plainview Water District’s Commissioners, who pride themselves on their accomplishments in protecting the environment, were eager to create a 20-foot entryway ban and were honored for their leadership.

The following six organizations were also honored for their outstanding work in supporting the Smoke-Free Outdoor Air Campaign with the creation of entryway bans to protect their employees, patrons, visitors, and the public from exposure to second-hand smoke: St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, and the Plainview-Old Bethpage, Merrick, Levittown, Lynbrook, and Mineola Public Libraries.

Stop & Shop in Hicksville was recognized for supporting the State Department of Health’s Tobacco Control Program Point-of-Sale Initiative to reduce youth exposure to tobacco advertising. Last year when approached by Meschkow to help with the project to reduce, rearrange or eliminate tobacco advertisements, district manager Bill Hartnagel exceeded all expectations in reducing his tobacco inventory and relocating the store’s cigarette display entirely out of the sight of children, helping to combat the lure of the  $1.1 million a day the tobacco industry spends marketing their products.

 In addition, Ormond Park Realty, based in Rockville Centre, set local precedent by adopting not only an entryway ban for all four commercial retail holdings at One Jefferson Plaza, but also converted their entire co-op complex to a smoke-free housing facility, including a total grounds ban on their 3-acre property.

“As a Nassau County resident, I am extremely proud and grateful for the vigor of our local champions. We couldn’t accomplish our mission without such remarkable supporters,” Meschkow concluded.