Dolgeville passes tobacco law

Dolgeville Mayor Mary Puznowski, Dakota Jeffers and Phoenix Longway Reality Check youth and Rachel Johnson Youth Action Specialist. (Photo submitted)

DOLGEVILLE — The village held a public hearing Monday evening to finalize a retail tobacco licensing law. It is the first of such a law in Herkimer County that aims to prevent youth tobacco-use, according to a news release.

Rachel Johnson, Reality Check Youth Action specialist said Dolgeville now has its own licensing structure, so any licensed retailers who want to sell tobacco products in Dolgeville have to be licensed through Dolgeville in order to sell there, even if they are already licensed.

“If any retailers want to sell here, they have to go to police to get a license to sell in Dolgeville,” Johnson said.

The law also makes it so any special tobacco-related retail shops cannot be in Dolgeville, such as shops that sell vapes or hookahs.

“Vapes are a big epidemic right now,” Johnson said.

She said it also prohibits any shops to be near school grounds and prohibits retailers from using any form of discounting on tobacco products such as couponing or anything else that makes it easier for youth to get access to.

“Dolgeville is trying hard to have a wellness community,” Johnson said.

Over the past year, Dolgeville Reality Check youth, along with BRIDGES Tobacco Prevention and the Herkimer County Prevention Council educated Dolgeville officials about the concerns regarding tobacco marketing in the community. The release said village officials felt an important step to protect youth from such marketing could be accomplished through a retail licensing system.

With the youth epidemic in e-cigarettes and Herkimer County adult smoking rates amongst the highest in the state at 29 percent — the statewide average is 14.2 percent —the law is a step towards a healthier community, the release stated.

This announcement comes around the same time Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing a set of tobacco control laws to go in effect statewide, including raising the age to purchase tobacco products to 21 years of age, and prohibiting the sale of tobacco in pharmacies.

“The combination of local municipalities and statewide efforts will make a significant impact for the health and wellness of our local communities and state overall” the release stated. “There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done to further protect youth from tobacco and tobacco marketing and to reach those who continue to struggle with a tobacco addiction. Many more communities could benefit from similar action.”

BRIDGES Tobacco Prevention and the Reality Check Program is advancing tobacco-free communities in Herkimer, Oneida and Madison counties. The organization’s objectives are to reduce the negative impact of tobacco product marketing and price promotions on youth and adults at the point of sale; to increase the number of local laws and voluntary policies that prohibit tobacco use in outdoor areas; to decrease secondhand smoke exposure in multi-unit housing, with an emphasis on policies that protect the health of low income residents; and to promote policies that reduce tobacco use imagery in youth rated movies, on the Internet and social media.

By Josh Bovee

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