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Dolgeville, NY: Retail Environment Tobacco Law

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Public Hearing: January 2019

Effective: April 2019

Local Law #2 of the year 2019


  • Have a group of youth educated and engaged in tobacco control
  • Work with the municipalities where the youth live
  • Have a presentation ready for the town and
  • If you are able, engage another community group to present with you
Dolgeville Mayor Puznowski (left) with 2 youth advocates during the public hearing for the Dolgeville Tobacco law, and author Rachel Johnson (right)


1. Work with your local youth group or if you have a tobacco control youth group. Educate them on the retail environment for tobacco.

2. Identify the local municipality where the youth live and request to be put on the agenda to do a presentation at their board meeting.

3. Start prepping youth on public speaking with the information they received from doing a retail tobacco environment observation in the area where they will be presenting.

4. See if you can find a local community group, prevention group, etc. to present with you on related topics.

5. Have visuals and handouts to give at the board meeting as well as contact information.

6. Follow up the meeting with an email and or letter from the youth.

7. If possible, invite the town/village/city board to attend a youth-hosted event to see the group in action.


When the new Mayor of Dolgeville, NY began her position in April of 2018; we (Reality Check-Tobacco Prevention) were her first presenters. We signed up early with the village clerk to be at her first board meeting as the Mayor.  The youth were prepped and ready to present and had their facts on the local tobacco environment. They had visuals and handouts along with the Herkimer County Prevention Council. They talked about how all the stores in the area sold tobacco products, and as a youth you could not get away from the advertisements. The prevention council coordinator discussed the health effects of tobacco and vaping, and also what she was seeing at the local school with the youth.

After our meeting we sent thank you notes and information on our policy center. We then invited the Mayor to attend our community education night. We asked her to hand out awards to our youth during the recognition portion of the event.

A few weeks after this event with all that information fresh in her mind, she saw a business beginning the prep work across the street from her home on Main St. in Dolgeville.  It also happened to be across from the local doctor’s office and public park and playground. When she approached the new business owners, she found out they were opening a tobacco and vape shop. The Mayor then reached out to me and asked for help in passing a law.

With the help from our policy center, a law was drafted up and ready for the public hearing in January 2019 and it passed! The Village of Dolgeville now has a tobacco retail environment law allowing only the existing 3 tobacco retailers to apply for a local license and renew that license yearly with the village. If they are to sell or move the business, their license would be void. They also cannot accept coupons, discounts or promotions on tobacco products, and cannot sell tobacco products near a school or youth area.

After this law was passed the mayor was asked to present at our Tobacco Control Legislative Day at The Capitol in Albany, NY. She was able to speak in front of all of the other tobacco control partners throughout the state as well as any elected officials who attended the event.

With this new tobacco law in effect, the adjoining town was on board with having a presentation at their board meeting with the youth, and wanted to pass a retail tobacco environment law as well.

Reflection from Dolgeville Mayor Mary Puznowski, October 2020

I was tremendously impressed with the efforts of our local young people who are members of the Reality Check tobacco prevention group in the Village of Dolgeville.  The education our board of trustees received from them regarding the health impacts, and statistics from nicotine product usage, as well as its local impacts, was an eye opener.

The students were well prepared and passionate about their goals- to diminish nicotine product usage and keep the children in our community informed about the lifelong dangers of this toxic addiction.  We were inspired, with their efforts, to pass a local law limiting the sellers of these products in our Village.

Congratulations to the Reality Check team for a job well done!


Author: Rachel Johnson, Youth Action Specialist, BRiDGES Tobacco Prevention | Reality Check

Visit their Reality Check website   |    Contact Rachel Johnson