By Matthew Reitz
The Fulton Common Council voted Tuesday to make the Fulton Farmers’ Market tobacco free beginning July 11.
The Tobacco Free Network of CNY, the Oswego County Health Department, and the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce all supported the measure and encouraged city officials to pass the resolution, which prohibits the use of all tobacco products inside the farmers’ market barriers, not just cigarettes. The Tobacco Free Network will provide signage to designate the boundaries of the smoke-free area at the farmers’ market.
The Common Council passed the resolution unanimously with little discussion on Tuesday, and Mayor Ron Woodward Sr. said he thought the move was a positive.
“I think it’s a good thing,” Woodward said.
The Tobacco Free Network of CNY says the move will make it safer for young children at the market as they are in danger not only of being burned by a cigarette or its ashes, but also from the negative health effects of secondhand smoke.
Danielle Hayden, assistant director of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, said the farmer’s market aims to be a safe, family-oriented environment, and this measure will improve on that.
“It’s a family-friendly market,” Hayden said. “We wanted to make it’s smoke free for that fact alone.”
Greg Mills, the chamber’s executive director, said the tobacco-free policy will create a “safer, healthier environment for market vendors and patrons” and in turn a more family-friendly experience.
Hayden also mentioned that the Oswego Farmers’ Market has been smoke free “for a few years,” and it was only logical to follow their lead.
Jackie Thorpe, community specialist for the Tobacco Free Network of CNY, said she was pleased that Fulton voted to “protect its residents and the spirit of our farmers’ market.”
“There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” Thorpe said. “Even if outdoors.”
Thorpe cited a 2010 study in which 91 percent of Oswego County residents considered secondhand smoke to be harmful, and another 75 percent of the county’s residents “favor restricting or completely eliminating cigarette smoking at public outdoor recreation areas or events.”
A 2013 ban on smoking in New York State Parks was also upheld by a state judge late last year.
Thorpe and the Tobacco Free Network provided an extensive list of reasons to go smoke-free that included preventing asthma, other respiratory diseases and cardiovascular disease.
The Fulton Farmers’ Market is located in the Canalview Park & Shop parking lot on S. Second Street on Saturdays through Oct. 13 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
By Matthew Reitz