We’re tobacco free! This is the latest campaign by the Cheshire Coalition for Tobacco Free Communities (CCTFC), kick-started by program manager, Kate McNally.
There is unfinished business in reducing the Monadnock Region’s youth tobacco rate from 19.8% to 10% by the year 2020. CCTFC began in 1996 in response to concerns about youth tobacco use. According to McNally, “Since then, we’ve gotten smoking out of restaurants, created tobacco free worksites and helped people quit smoking. But, we still have work to do. There are still stores selling tobacco to kids and the Monadnock Region has an unacceptable rate of youth smoking, higher than the State of New Hampshire average which is currently at 13.8%. We have to finish it!” McNally referred to recent compliance checks done of 18 stores in Keene. Three stores out of the eighteen sold tobacco to underage buyers.
“It is unacceptable for stores to sell tobacco to kids,” McNally said. “If the store clerks checked id’s, then there would have been no sale.”
Every compliant store received a thank you letter. The non-compliant stores received a letter signed by Mayor Kendall Lane with a stern request to do a better job.
CCTFC held a demonstration event in Keene’s Central Square bringing together former smokers that the CCTFC supported to quit smoking, community health advocates, area youth, members from Healthy Monadnock and concerned citizens. Demonstrators paraded around the square wearing t-shirts with #WTF Monadnock on the front as stunned community members passed by on foot and in cars. The explanation of the meaning is revealed on the reverse side of the t-shirts, “We’re Tobacco Free.” The attention getting slogan is the brain child of Kate McNally who has been advocating for tobacco free policies and supporting smokers trying to quit for over 12 years.
Children in attendance wore t-shirts with the slogan Jeff We Can with a picture of CCTFC’s adopted mascot Jeff, the diseased lung. Jeff wears a cowboy hat and resembles a popular iconic tobacco industry figure invented by comedian and late night talk show host John Oliver.
The key areas of focus for the campaign are enforcement and compliance of tobacco laws, increased smoke free environments (playgrounds, worksites, cars and homes) and advocacy for best practices treatment of tobacco dependence throughout the community and state.
The WTF and Jeff campaign will be hitting the road and visiting area towns. If you are interested in being involved in this important work call 354-6513 or contact us.