Category Archives: Uncategorized

Age to Purchase Tobacco in Cattaraugus County, NY Soon to be 21

As of last night, the Cattaraugus County Legislature APPROVED a proposed law that would raise the age to buy cigarettes. The legislature voted 14-2 in favor or raising the age from 18 – 21.  We’re happy to report that the new law covers both electronic and traditional cigarettes. The law will go into effect on the 1st of November. Another great step to fight back against big tobacco.

Check out the full story here: Time Warner Cable News

The New York Times “Black Health Experts Renew Fight Against Menthol Cigarettes”

Did you know that menthol cigarettes account for about 1/3 of all cigarettes sold in the US? Did you also know that they are particularly popular among African American smokers? According to the New York Times, about 45,000 African Americans die each year from a smoking related illness.

Check out the attached link for the recent New York Times article about the toll of Big Tobacco!

NYTimes Article


Lewis County Night Out

Reality Check attended the Lewis County Kid’s Night Out last Thursday! It made us so happy to see parent involvement as well as youth interest in learning about tobacco and its damaging effects! Most importantly we loved seeing everyone out having a good time with loved ones!reality-check-lewis-county-night-outamber-lewis-county-night-outamber-2-lewis-county-night-out

Preparing our Youth!

Check out these two superheros! Two of our Reality Check youth spent their Saturday with us learning how to protect their community from the effects of tobacco. They wrote letters to local law enforcement and news stations, learned about all of the mean things that tobacco executives have said about their customers, created their own “tobacco crusaders” and picked up cigarette butts.

Check out all of the cigarette butts in the photo! Our girls filled a large orange juice container and started a garbage bag – all from just one building!

Butt Clean Up, Ogdensburg Youth Summit, 1 Youth Summit, 2 Youth Summit, 3 Youth Summit, 4 Youth Summit, 5 Youth Summit, 6 Youth Summitt

Landlord Testimonials

There are several reasons to implement a tobacco-free policy in multi-unit housing. Check out what some landlords said after they implemented a tobacco-free policy in their building!

“I went to a resident meeting prepared with facts, figures and statistics – ready for anything – except for the reaction we received. When we made the ‘official’ announcement that the property would be smoke free on January 1, the residents applauded. And that reaction was repeated at the next property and at the next property. We were giving the residents what they wanted.”
            Pamela Berger, Belmont Housing Resources for WNY (Buffalo, NY)

“As the owner of Annandale Mansion and multiple residential units within Saratoga Springs, it became clear years ago that people who sought housing preferred their dwelling and surrounding apartments to be smoke-free. The absence of people smoking provided a cleaner, safer and more pleasant environment for all. As an owner and the person responsible for the upkeep and maintenance, I benefit immensely because a smoke-free building is always cleaner, fresher and easier to transition between tenants. Also, I have found that I have gained rather than lost prospective tenants based on this designation.”
            Al Miller, Landlord (Saratoga Springs, NY)

“Albany Management took the steps we did toward supporting a smoke free community because we listened to our residents and prospects interested in our 019communities. Some residents were concerned about secondhand smoke while others just simply wanted to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. All of our smoke free buildings are currently 100% occupied and we are planning to provide more smoke free apartment homes in the future. It truly is a win-win for everybody.”
            Lori Crisafulli, Albany Management (Albany, NY)

“Having had a fire started by a cigarette, the increased level of fire safety is comforting to the staff and residents.”
            David K. Aldrich, Executive Director, Harrietown Housing Authority

“A few of my tenants have commented on how comfortable their building is to live in. I believe that the smoke free environment along with the lack of garbage generated from cigarette litter is a strong contributor to the overall comfort of the apartments. Because no smoking is allowed inside the building, my tenants do not have to contend with the smell or the health hazards associated with secondhand smoke. Additionally, it’s much easier to rent apartments in non-smoking buildings because it appeals to more of the general public.

From the standpoint of cost and maintenance, when a tenant leaves it is much less expensive and time-consuming to prep the apartment for the next tenant. If there was a smoker living in the apartment, 100 percent of the time the walls and ceiling must be painted, sometimes with an oil-based sealer/primer before the topcoat can be applied. Smoke free buildings are most definitely less costly to maintain and healthier for the workers and building occupants.”
            Steve Lysczek, President, Distinctive Homes (Binghamton, NY)

“We have seniors and disabled people living here and we know that it’s a healthier environment for them since we went smoke-free. I’ve had nothing but positive feedback from our residents. Even the people who smoke are happy with the new policy.”
            Marsha Alia, Rivertown Senior Housing (Athens, NY)

“As a medical center that serves and promotes the health of our northern Manhattan communities, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is proud to champion smoke-free environments in our housing portfolio. For example, our residential building at 1214 5th Avenue was among the first smoke-free rental apartment complexes in New York. As an institution, our housing policies maintain that a smoke-free environment is imperative to protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and guests – and has the added benefit of helping to create a healthier and safer environment for our community’s residents. Mount Sinai is proud to remain among the city’s leaders in this effort.”
            Thomas C. Ahn, Vice President, Mount Sinai Real Estate (New York City)

“Several of my residents have chosen Graystone because it is a smoke-free community. Some of these residents have allergies, others just like knowing that they will not be in an apartment that someone smoked in prior or will have to smell cigarette smoke from a neighboring apartment. I have actually had someone rent that was a smoker, but this gave them that extra incentive to quit.   Our apartments are clean and fresh and there will never be that residual of smoke after a smoker moves out. I think that having a smoke free community has been a benefit for all- the resident and the property owner. “
            Cheryl McNamara, Graystone Apartments (Schenectady, NY)

“We realized we were spending extra time and money on an apartment turnover when the previous tenant was a smoker… At times the walls needed to be washed before we could paint 2 coats to cover the yellowing from smoke. On one occasion we were unable to get the smell of cigarette smoke out of the refrigerator and had to dispose of it… We now have a non-smoking policy in our lease and had present tenants sign a rider both stating there is no smoking in any part of our building. The tenants we have that are smokers have cooperated and really do smoke outside (even through the winter months). This policy has made our apartments easier to rent now that we can tell possible tenants that our apartments are a smoke free environment.”
            Robert Rigano, Rigano Restorations (Saratoga Springs, NY)

“We want the environment at The Conservatory to be as healthy, clean and safe as possible. When we asked our tenants if they would support us making The Conservatory smoke-free, they unanimously and enthusiastically affirmed our position. Being smoke-free has become one of the apartments’ amenities and has enhanced our leasing success.”
            Deane S. Pfeil, J.W. Pfeil & Company, Inc. (Troy, NY)

“We have had nothing but positive feedback from residents and others after we designated two of our buildings as smoke-free. In the future, we hope to designate all 13 remaining buildings with that status.”
            Dan Hitchcock, Hudson Terrace Apartments (Hudson, NY)

“We are very proud to say that we own smoke-free buildings. The apartments are easier to clean once they are vacated, there are no more cigarette burns on the property, the air is cleaner and it is much more appealing to a non-smoker. In the short and long run we are saving money and feel that our apartments are easier to rent without the smell of smoke.”
            Beth Ann & Bill Hughes, Troy Raven, LLC (Troy, NY)

“One month after designating two of our apartment buildings at Parkwood Village as smoke free, they were 100% occupied. Non smokers love to have the option of living smoke free and appreciate having neighbors that also value clean air.”
            Emily Modan, Parkwood Village (Albany, NY)

“Our choice to go smoke-free has been a benefit for all; several tenants have quit smoking as a result. And our non-smoking tenants are happy they can move about the property without coming into contact with second-hand smoke.”
            Penny Rudinger, Lexington Property Management (Greenwich, NY)

“I have found that people looking for an apartment are now asking for a smoke-free policy. They like knowing that their apartment and common areas will be neat, clean and fresh. Having new residents sign a contract gives them the reassurance as well knowing that guests and visitors are held to the same policy. Residents have complied completely and the policy has been extremely helpful.”
            Kelly Johns, The Glen at Sugar Hill (Brunswick, NY)

“The success of our first completely smoke-free community, The Glen at Sugar Hill, has encouraged us to continue offering smoke-free options for our residents. We are in the process of constructing The Woods Apartments that will consist of five smoke free apartment buildings, totaling 84 apartments. Our prospects and residents have shown an increased interest in smoke free living and we are happy to provide them with a healthy and clean place to live.”
            Julie Massry Knox, Tri City Rentals (Albany, NY)

“I own a three-unit row house in the historic Mansion Neighborhood of Albany which has been smoke-free for a little over four years now … I see the benefits of that decision…There are no more cigarette butts scattered around the stairs and walkway outside. Turning over a unit was much easier — windows were much easier to clean, ceiling fans and window blinds were simply dusty and not covered in smoke film, the carpets were undamaged from burns and simple to clean, and I didn’t have to repaint the entire apartment. People don’t realize it, but that smoke film is on EVERYTHING. I can’t think of one disadvantage to my decision to have a smoke-free building. Not one. Best of all, enforcement hasn’t been a problem at all. I haven’t had one complaint and I haven’t found one instance of smoking in my building since instituting the policy.”
            Robert McRae, Landlord (Albany, NY)

“Being an ex-smoker who feels healthier, I wanted to do what I can as a manager to protect my maintenance staff and to give my disabled residents and their young children a place to live without being exposed to secondhand smoke. I believe going smoke-free will be better for everyone. A bonus is that I will save money and time when turning over an apartment that has been smoked in. Those costs are significant, especially in this economy.”

            Richard Bowman, Greenbush Village Apartments (Rensselaer, NY)

“I used to be in Apartment Property Management for nearly 20 years prior to my brokerage career. I created a non-smoking building in the mid-90′s for a new community that had a couple of buildings with lousy views. They filled up immediately upon the non-smoking designation.”
            Jay Verro, CCIM Multi Family & Investment Specialist (Albany, NY)

“Oak Brook Commons is pleased to offer a safer and healthier environment for our residents and guests.”
            Chuck Hoffman, Oak Brook Commons (Clifton Park, NY)

“My husband suffered a long and horrible battle with emphysema. As a result of smoking, he also developed an autoimmune rare disease -polymyositis- followed by congestive heart disease and then death. After watching him slowly die for years, and at the end trying desperately to complete each breath, I thought I would not allow students in my rentals to inflict this on themselves. For the past 5 years, I have not allowed smoking in my rentals. It is working very well. “
            Angela Thurlow, Student Housing Landlord, (Cortland, NY)