Hudson Valley Parent

HVP November 2017

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Page 30 of 43 n Hudson Valley Parent 31 Tobacco Free Action Communities (TFAC) in Ulster, Dutchess and Sullivan Counties is working toward a tobacco free future for our community and helping to make the Hudson Valley a healthier place to live, work and play - even kids are getting involved! Through our local youth action program called Reality Check, we're educating youth in the Hudson Valley to become agents of change, giving them the knowledge and tools to create impactful tobacco awareness in the community. From visiting with their state elected officials to testifying at local legislative meetings, Reality Check members are able to share how they feel targeted by the tobacco industry through community activism and delivering their message at community events and rallies, including demonstrating outside a national pharmacy chain's annual meeting to encourage shareholders to divest from tobacco and stand for health. If these dedicated and passionate youth are any indication, our future is in good hands as they continue to work toward becoming the first tobacco free generation. Start the conversation Not sure where to start when talking to your own children about the dangers of smoking? Here are some tips from the American Lung Association to help you start the conversation: • Start telling children at age 5 or 6 that you do not want them to smoke - keep your messages clear and consistent. • Emphasize both the health dangers and undesirable physical consequences, such as discolored teeth and bad breath. • Set an example by not smok- ing - parents who smoke are more likely to have children who smoke. • If you are currently a smoker, ex- plain to your kids how difficult it is to quit, and never light up around them - a smoke-free policy at home is ideal. • If your children have friends who smoke, talk to them about ways they can say "no" if they are pressured to smoke. • Teens that start smoking may want to be accepted into a friend group or may seek your attention. Talking about the changes your teen can make to stop smoking is a step in the right direction. If you and your family are interested in getting involved with TFAC and/or Reality Check, call us at 845-943-6070 or email us at Ellen Reinhard is the Director of Tobacco Free Action Communities (TFAC) in Ulster, Dutchess and Sullivan Counties. Her background in community outreach, mobiliza - tion and health communications has helped her in establishing and maintaining contact with the community, businesses, lawmakers and local professionals in order to promote TFAC's mission in the fight against tobacco. Diane Moore is the TFAC Reality Check lead. Her focus on youth ad - vocacy and public health has been a strong foundation for her work with youth in the fight against tobacco. Girls making a difference! Teens take action outside of a national pharmacy chain, hoping to influence healthy change. Hudson Valley teens made their mark on the tobacco industry at the Annual Youth Summit.

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