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Niskayuna asks merchants to limit smoking ads

Students and residents urged the Niskayuna Town Board on Tuesday, Feb. 23, to pass a resolution requesting retail merchants in the town reduce, rearrange or eliminate tobacco advertising in retail stores. The resolution was passed unanimously.

"We're asking the [retailers] to be aware of the use [of tobacco ads] and to try to put those things out of kids' line of vision, and to try not to display advertisements outside of their stores," said Town Board Member Julie McDonnell.

She said that while this isn't something town officials can legally require, they're asking retailers to support their initiative.

"We want to promote healthy lifestyles in Niskayuna," said McDonnell.

Jeanie Orr, a project coordinator with the Capital District Tobacco-Free Coalition and a resident of Niskayuna, said her group approached the town about the advertising issue following the success of a smoke-free parks initiative passed in June.

"What we're trying to do at the coalition is do a coordinated effort in each community we're responsible for," said Orr.

She said the Tobacco-Free Coalition is trying to hit a lot of sides at once rather than making one improvement at a time. They have the philosophy that people don't notice when little things are done here and there, but that they will notice a big change.

"I know they've also passed a smoke-free movies resolution that was brought up by the AMA Alliance, which is sort of the pro-bono arm of the American Medical Association," said Orr.

The resolution is to encourage the movie industry to make any movie where smoking is prominent have a rating of at least PG-13.

"All these different things have had a converging in Niskayuna and because they were so proactive with the parks resolution, we thought Niskayuna would be a great community to start out with," said Orr, of the beginning of the initiative they're calling Tobacco Free Communities.

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