State Awards Additional $553,400 to Youth Empowerment Programs

New York Counties and Boroughs Benefitting From the $5 Million in State Grant Awards

Albany, February 22, 2002 — State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H. today announced that $553,400 in State grants have been awarded to six local youth organizations to serve seven areas of the State with a focus on youth empowerment and getting teenagers involved in the fight against tobacco use.

Today's funding follows the State's $4.4 million allocation of grant awards in April 2001 to 54 New York counties and ensures that nearly all the counties/boroughs in the State have a Youth Empowerment Program as part of Governor Pataki's comprehensive $60.5 million anti-smoking campaign.

State Health Commissioner Novello said, "Governor Pataki and his administration are committed to promoting healthy lifestyles for all New Yorkers, especially our youth. It is critical that we involve local youth in these empowerment programs so that we strike a nerve in our society that convinces youth, their families and friends, that smoking cigarettes really is addictive, harmful and will unequivocally shorten one's life, no question."

New York's anti-smoking campaign, which ranks among the top five tobacco control programs for funding in the nation according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has a particular focus on youth. The grants announced today range from $38,400 to $200,000 (see listing below) and will help to build on the State's aggressive anti-smoking campaign.

As part of the local Youth Empowerment Program, every county and borough in the State will have a full-time coordinator to support the initiative. The grants charge the local organizations with building a framework to empower youth in their counties to change social norms toward tobacco use. The youth empowerment programs build on New York's statewide youth counter-marketing Reality Check campaign, which alerts teens to tobacco company marketing strategies and promotes teens as decision makers in their own lives, as well as role models in their communities.

"New York has one of the most comprehensive tobacco control programs in the nation and when it's coupled with the aggressive initiatives supported by the Governor, such as prohibiting the sale of cigarette look-alikes to teens, tougher penalties for retailers who sell tobacco to teens, and cessation programs that help people quit smoking -- we take a back seat to no one. New York will continue to implement effective anti-smoking outreach initiatives in line with the State's Youth Empowerment Programs to encourage New Yorkers to be assertive, say no to smoking and enjoy healthier lifestyles," Dr. Novello said.

Gary Pruyn, Steuben County Youth Bureau, said, "Steuben County is extremely thrilled to be one of New York State's newest Reality Check programs. Youth empowerment is one of our top goals and Reality Check is a method to successful achievement. We are very grateful to Governor Pataki and the State Health Department for providing this funding. This Youth Empowerment Initiative, Reality Check, will make a positive difference in many of our youngsters lives."

Stephen Munford, SUNY Cobleskill Liberty Partnerships, said, "We would like to thank Governor Pataki and the New York State Department of Health for the opportunity to put the Youth Empowerment Program Initiative Against Tobacco Use into action. We look forward to working with the youth of Schoharie County to spread the Reality Check message."

Deborah Lomax, Youth Director, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hyigene Tobacco Control Program, said, "On behalf of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hyigene, I want to thank

the Governor for the opportunity to implement this exciting anti-tobacco youth movement in the Bronx and Brooklyn. We look forward to collaborating with various partners in these communities to bring awareness, education and commitment in reducing the use of tobacco among teens, in addition to advocating for a smoke-free New York City."

Shelley Prosise, Youth Empowerment Coordinator, Reality Check, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Niagara County, said, "Recruiting youth from local schools and community groups has helped the Niagara County Reality Check movement get off to a roaring start. The enthusiasm of the youth in this county is truly inspiring. I want to thank Governor Pataki and the State Health Department for this important funding."

Thomas Jaconski, Lewis County, Mountain View Prevention Services, Executive Director, said, "Mountain View Prevention Services and Lewis County would like to thank Governor Pataki for the opportunity to be a part of the Reality Check partnership. We will strive to the best of our ability to make the youth of Lewis County become an active participant in this very important common goal."

Craig Fisher, Cornell Cooperative Extension, said, "We would like to thank Governor Pataki for the opportunity to bring an anti-tobacco youth empowerment program to the youth of Sullivan County. We have a high rate of youth using tobacco products and look forward to working on this initiative to reduce youth smoking in Sullivan County."

Other Components of Governor Pataki's comprehensive $60.5 million statewide anti-smoking campaign include:

  • support for school-based tobacco prevention programs;
  • creation of the largest anti-tobacco advertising program in State history;
  • promotion of smoking cessation services;
  • advertising aimed at adult smoking cessation;
  • Medicaid coverage of prescribed and over-the-counter smoking cessation products; and,
  • support of the New York State Smokers Quitline (1-888-609-6292).

Following is a listing of the six Youth Empowerment Programs awarded State funding:

Organization County/Borough Served Amount
Medical and Health Research Association Kings, Bronx $200,000
Mountain View Prevention Services Lewis 65,000
Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara 120,000
SUNY Cobleskill Liberty Partnership Schoharie 65,000
Steuben County Youth Bureau Steuben 38,400
Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan 65,000
    Total $553,400

2/22/02–20 OPA