After years of dedicated efforts from TCI and the T21 workgroup, the legal smoking age in Onondaga County and New York State has been raised from 18 to 21. “Tobacco 21” was first passed in Onondaga County in January 2018. Then, in April 2019, New York State Governor Cuomo signed the same proposal into law – which went into effect in July.
TCI secured multiple stories in local media since 2017 to help influence government officials, community leaders and policymakers to advocate for this legislation. Stories included Syracuse.com, the Daily Orange, NewsChannel 9, CNY Central and Spectrum News. TCI also successfully advocated a favorable editorial by the Post Standard and wrote a story for Syracuse Woman Magazine.
In addition to securing media coverage, TCI produced a Public Service Announcement video that was distributed to local TV stations and launched a digital advertising campaign to promote the new legislation.
TCI also partnered with the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion at Syracuse University to survey all 34 Syracuse City School District buildings, and installed Tobacco Free Zone signs in English and Spanish across Syracuse City Schools.
Most recently, at this year’s NYS Fair, Upstate University Hospital partnered with TCI and the Tobacco Action Coalition of Onondaga County to distribute 600 free nicotine replacement therapy kits. A social media and digital advertising campaign also promoted the free kits.