What's Going On in The Zone


Big Tobacco secretly bought its way on screen for decades. The U.S. entertainment industry still refuses to give parents and audiences advance warning before exposing kids to tobacco imagery that is proven to recruit millions of new young smokers and kill them as adults.

Tobacco on screen is the single biggest media risk to children and teens. To draw attention to this threat, Tobacco Free Zone's Reality Check program, in partnership with Drug Free Communities, held a smoke-free movie event at the Colonia Theater in Norwich.  Each year, around Hollywood Oscar season, Reality Check programs across New York State conduct educational activities around the problem of exposure to tobacco imagery in youth-rated films.  The Motion Picture Association either needs to remove tobacco imagery from youth-rated movies or rate them with "R."

Teens Educate Lawmakers in Albany for Legislative Education Day

Tobacco Free Zone's Reality Check youth from Bainbridge, Homer, and Norwich schoolsl just returned from the state Capitol in Albany where they met with state lawmakers representing our region. They spoke about the success of their local tobacco control program and about the unmet needs in tobacco control efforts, particularly among highest need communities. Nearly 40% of 12 grade students in New York State use e-cigarettes. In addition, New Yorkers with low education, low-income and reporting frequent mental distress smoke at higher rates than the state average.  For example, 25.5% of adults reporting frequent mental distress smoke cigarettes, as do 20% of those with less than a high school education and nearly 20% of those with an annual household income of less than $25,000.

Local Youth Attend Regional Reality Check Training To Act Against Big

Over 30 Reality Check Youth Leaders and tobacco control staff from across 15 counties gathered at Orenda Springs Experiential Learning Center in Marcellus, NY to meet, bond, organize and act against Big Tobacco! Reality Check held a day long training for new and current Reality Check youth members. Youth had the opportunity to learn and work on team building activities, which included low and high ropes courses. The staff at Orenda encouraged youth to foster a deeper understanding of self, others, and nature – focusing on skills like leadership, communication, passion, trust and many more.

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Cortland County

Jennifer Hamilton

Community Engagement Lead Coordinator


Rose Walsh

Reality Check Lead Coordinator


Tompkins County

Ted Schiele

Tompkins County Coordinator


Chenango County

Jessica Shull

Chenango County Coordinator


Cortland County Health Department

60 Central Ave.

Cortland, NY 13045

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