The village of Richfield Springs board of trustees voted May 28 to prohibit the use of tobacco products on any facilities and property, parks, recreation areas and shared public spaces under the jurisdiction of the village, according to a media release by Advancing Tobacco Free Communities — Delaware, Otsego & Schoharie Counties last week. 

The spaces include, but are not limited to, the Richfield Springs Public Library, Cary Park, Memorial Park, Spring Park and Richfield Springs Municipal Park.

“The driving force behind the board’s vote was straightforward, the health concerns of our residents and visitors," Richfield Springs Mayor Robin Moshier said in the release. "We want to enhance people’s enjoyment of clean air and healthy activities. Our new tobacco-free policy will help protect all library, park and event patrons from the harmful effects of discarded cigarette butts and exposure to secondhand smoke and electronic cigarette aerosol.”

ATFC-DOS aims to reduce the negative impact of tobacco product marketing and price promotions on youth and adults at the point-of-sale, increase adoption of tobacco-free outdoor area policies, decrease secondhand smoke exposure in multi-unit housing and reduce tobacco imagery in youth-rated movies, internet and social media, according to its website. 

“I was happy the village adopted a  tobacco-free policy," said Jasmine Neill, a Reality Check member from Springfield, in the release. "There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke or aerosol. Secondhand smoke is a dangerous mixture of over 7,000 chemicals, including 70 that cause cancer. Even aerosol from e-cigarettes contains some human carcinogens like formaldehyde and benzene.”

ATFC-DOS and its youth component, Reality Check, spoke to the board of trustees about tobacco issues and the benefits of tobacco-free outdoor areas, the release said. Before the village board meeting on June 25, ATFC-DOS presented Moshier with aluminum signs, A-frame signage and bench plates to post at the library and parks. 

“Preventing and reducing tobacco use are important public health actions that can be taken to improve the health of New Yorkers,” said Linda Wegner, program director for ATFC-DOS, in the release. “When we implemented a telephone-based community survey in 2017, we found majority support in the three-county region for tobacco-free outdoor public places and outdoor community events. Seventy percent favored tobacco-free outdoor spaces and 67% favored tobacco-free outdoor community events.”