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Jarrett Carroll/Recorder staff Assemblyman George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, talks to a crowd at the Holiday Inn in Johnstown during the fifth annual Community Recognition Ceremony for The Tobacco Control Partners of the Project Action Tobacco-Free Coalition.

Jarrett Carroll/Recorder Staff A crowd listens to speakers talking about the dangers of tobacco during a recognition ceremony held by The Tobacco Control Partners of the Project Action Tobacco-Free Coalition.

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Anti-tobacco groups lauded for their work

Friday, May 20, 2011 - Updated: 6:28 AM

By JARRETT CARROLL

Recorder News Staff

JOHNSTOWN -- Kicking butts and taking names.

That's what it's all about for The Tobacco Control Partners of the Project Action Tobacco-Free Coalition, which held its fifth annual Community Recognition Ceremony on Thursday in Johnstown.

The Project Action Tobacco-Free Coalition, Tobacco Cessation Center of Glens Falls Hospital, Healthy Schools NY, and Reality Check, all came together to honor the community and its members for its efforts in eradicating tobacco use and educating on the dangers smoking poses.

Guests who spoke about the positive impacts the organizations were having included Assemblyman George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, and keynote speaker Dr. Robert Lancey, chief of cardiac surgery and co-director of the Heart Care Institute, Bassett Medical Center.

"You make our community safer and make our community healthier," Amedore told the organizations.

The assemblyman thanked those in the room for working so hard to help keep his constituency from falling prey to a deadly habit.

"What you're doing here ... is really commendable and a true calling," he said. "I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart because I personally know you're making a difference in my district."

Making sure cigarettes are not glamorized to children is an important community endeavor, he said before adding, "Nicotine and cigarettes are not the cool things we see on TV."

Lancey gave an animated presentation, talking about the first-hand effects of second-hand smoke as well as the contributions smoking makes toward obesity and heart disease.

He said it all begins with the children and America's youth.

"There's really a lot out there that leads our young people to bad habits," he said. "For the first time, the generation that succeeds us will not live as long as us."

Saying obesity was "raging out of control," Lancey said smoking and other unhealthy lifestyle coupled with virtually no exercise or physical activity has left the nation with a sizable problem.

Citing the World Health Organization ranking the United States 37th in the world, Lancey said smoking needs to be nipped in the butt as he displayed slides of statistical facts and pictures of clogged arteries and heart failures.

In 2006, $12.6 billion was spent on tobacco advertising and 21,000 children under the age of 18 become new smokers in New York every year.

"I'm from Boston and love the Red Sox, so I'm used to hearing how New York is number one in everything," he said. "Guess what? You're number one in heart disease, too."

Lancey warned that although smoking rates over dramatically decreased in the past two decades, the past couple of years smoking rates have actually seen a very modest increase.

Sue Arminio, from Project action, gave out awards to municipalities for their commitment to tobacco-free outdoor air, as well as to local places that have a tobacco-free outdoor air policy.

Some of the awards went to the town and village of Broadalbin, the town of Mohawk and the village of St. Johnsville, as well as the Montgomery County Office for the Aging, Frothingham Free Library and the Walter Elwood Museum.

Also included in the presentation were awards given to Johnstown High School senior Aymee Morrison and sophomore Cody Arminio by Reality Check Youth. Both students were commended for their work with the organization, and Morrison, who will be leaving for college in the fall, received some additional recognition for her tenure with the group.

She is the organization's longest-serving student activist.

Rebecca Guarino, program coordinator for Project Action, handed out awards for tobacco-free housing, including Fonda Terrace Apartments, Hillside Apartments, and the Gloversville Housing Authority.

She said the area is becoming a leader for the rest of the nation in paving the way for an important step in wide-spread personal safety.

"There's a lot of reasons why this is good," Guarino concluded. "The number one cause of fire death in the United States is smoking and it's the number two cause of fires."

Contact JARRETT CARROLL at jarrett.carroll@recordernews.com

     

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