Over the last decade, as evidence of the dangers of secondhand smoke have increased, many communities, organizations and agencies have enacted tobacco-free policies that include outdoor areas. In fact, more than 470 New York State municipalities have adopted tobacco-free outdoor area policies. Two most recent examples include the Town of Stamford and Village of Delhi in Delaware County.

The Town of Stamford and Village of Delhi are committed to enhancing visitors’ enjoyment of clean air, natural beauty and healthy activities in their outdoor facilities and at their outdoor events. Both municipalities recently worked with Advancing Tobacco Free Communities in Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties (ATFC-DOS) and adopted tobacco-free outdoors policies. The use of tobacco products is prohibited on any present and future parks, recreation areas, trails and events under the jurisdiction of the Town of Stamford including the Senator John Bonacic Memorial Park, South Kortright Playgound and Hobart Farmers’ Market. In the Village of Delhi Sheldon Park, Reservoir Park, Cannon Memorial Park, Bridgeside Park, Triangle Park, Hoyt Park and Clark Basketball Court are now tobacco-free. Tobacco products are defined as any manufactured product containing tobacco or nicotine including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, dipping tobacco, bidis, snus, dissolvable tobacco products and electronic nicotine devices (ENDS) like electronic cigarettes and vape pens.

The emphasis on enforcing the tobacco-free policies in the Town of Stamford and the Village of Delhi is through peer-to-peer voluntary compliance. ATFC-DOS provided tobacco-free zone signs to the municipalities to post and municipal officials will conduct other efforts to promote awareness of their policies. Municipal personnel including staff, council members, and other designees will enforce these tobacco-free policies directly with visitors to outdoor areas of property owned, leased and/or operated by the two municipalities.

The use of tobacco products negatively affects everyone who spends time at parks, playgrounds, recreation areas, trails and outdoor events. Tobacco product use is unhealthy and detrimental to general health and wellbeing. Tobacco-free outdoor policies protect people from the harmful effects of exposure to secondhand smoke and electronic cigarette aerosol emissions. Tobacco-free policies reduce cigarette litter. Tobacco products, once consumed in public spaces and facilities, are often discarded on the ground, posing a litter problem and the risk of ingestion by toddlers, pets and wildlife. Such behavior is in opposition to the efforts of children, youth and adults engaging in, or watching recreational and cultural activities.

Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities – Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties (ATFC-DOS) strives to collaborate with local, state and agency decision-makers to build healthier communities in which to live, learn, work and play. ATFC-DOS can provide agencies, organizations, villages, towns and counties with the resources and assistance to help with policy development needs. The NYS Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Control provides funding to Advancing Tobacco Free Communities-Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie (ATFC-DOS) to increase support for New York State’s tobacco-free norm through community engagement and youth action. ATFC-DOS is part of the Research Foundation of SUNY at SUNY Cobleskill.