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Reality Check-Tobacco-Free Staten Island

Tobacco-Free Staten Island (TFSI)

The NY State Department of Health Bureau of Tobacco Control supports advancing tobacco free norms in places where Staten Islanders live, work and play.

  •  TFSI is comprised of adults and youth dedicated to promoting a healthy, tobacco-free norm.
  • There are 4 initiatives, Point of Sale, Tobacco-Free Outdoors, Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing and Smoke Free Media. TSFI and Reality Check, a teen-based anti-tobacco program, together will:
  • mobilize community members and organizations to strengthen tobacco–related policies
  • prevent and reduce tobacco use
  • reduce youth exposure to harmful tobacco marketing in retail settings
  • limit exposure to secondhand smoke
  • reduce smoking imagery through the media
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TFSI is currently growing its coalition. We are looking for leaders in the community interested in tobacco related issues and dedicated to creating a healthier Staten Island. In addition, our youth component continues to be the foundation of TFSI. If interested in our youth advocacy group or coalition please contact:

Ashley Zanatta , Community Engagement Manager for Tobacco-Free Staten Island  718.475.5277  azanatta@sijcc.com

Carissa Mazzeo, Program Assistant for Tobacco-Free Staten Island, 718.475.5257  cmazzeo@sijcc.com.

Reality Check

The JCC has housed Reality Check for over 13 years. Reality Check is a teen-led adult supported program working across New York State. Youth are equipped with the knowledge to combat the industry and take a stance on issues concerning them. Teens meet weekly, make new friends and discuss issues that involve them. Furthermore they are empowered to create a change and write letters, speak directly to elected officials, travel to Albany at least once a year and attend annual meetings in Manhattan. WE WON’T BE BOUGHT. Reality Check aims to expose the manipulative and deceptive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry. They strive to produce change in our communities through grassroots education, mobilization, political education and media campaigns.

Point of Sale

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What do our kids see at when they go to the store? They see billboard-sized displays of tobacco products in brightly colored packages – with marketing products in brightly colored packages – with marketing slogans like “find your flavor”, “full of pleasure” and “come to where the flavor is”. TFSI works to implement changes in tobacco product marketing, a known cause of youth smoking. According to the Surgeon General’s 50th Anniversary report on the health consequences of smoking, this evidence is sufficient to conclude that “advertising and promotional activities by the tobacco companies cause the onset and continuation of smoking among adolescents and young adults”.

Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing

TFSI will support and call for actions to increase the number of smoke free policies within multiunit housing residences that serve low-income communities, such as local housing authorities and affordable housing complexes.

Tobacco-Free Outdoors

TFSI works to decrease the social acceptability of tobacco use in outdoor areas including public parks, beaches, playgrounds, clubs, college campuses and outdoor areas of businesses (including hospitals and other medical facilities), other grounds, and recreation areas and in proximity to building entryways. TFSI will work towards creating policies that will reduce cigarette litter, exposure to second hand smoke and fire

Smoke-Free Media

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TFSI along with Reality Check will work to eliminate pro-tobacco imagery from youth-rated movies and the Internet. Big Tobacco has known the power of the media for decades and has a long history with the entertainment industry.

The tobacco industry uses tobacco imagery and brand identification on screen to both normalize and glamorize tobacco use. The tobacco industry uses the media to target youth by having their favorite actors and actresses light up on both television and movie screens. Research shows that the more smoking youth see on screen, the more likely they are to start smoking. There are currently no state or federal laws regulating how the tobacco industry markets on the web. This gives the industry free range to target youth in stealthy, new ways through buzz/viral marketing. Reality Check aims to expose the tobacco industry and de-normalize and de-glamorize tobacco use on screen.

  • The Surgeon General concluded that there is a causal relationship between depictions of smoking in the movies and smoking initiation among young people.
  • PG-13 films account for nearly two-thirds of the smoking scenes adolescents see on the big screen.
  • More tobacco use is depicted in TV-PG shows (50%) compared to shows with a more mature TV-14 rating (26%).

For Membership Inquiries Please Contact:
Membership Services 718.475.5223 

Select JCC facilities are available to all organizations, groups and individuals for life cycle events, meetings and celebrations. Call 718.475.5261 for information.