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Port Chester High Students Fight Smoking in Parks

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- A group of Port Chester High School students and members of the Port Chester Cares Community Coalition Youth Committee have committed to making the village of Port Chester's parks tobacco-free zones. On Monday, a group of five students delivered a presentation to the village's board of trustees regarding smoke-free parks.

"Our parks, for the most part, are underutilized," Port Chester High School junior Kyle Thomas said. "We feel that many of them are underutilized because of people smoking in them."

As part of their report the students conducted a survey of their peers, which reflected that 80 percent of those surveyed were bothered by the sight of smokers in the parks. The survey also found that students and their families would be more likely to use the park if smoking was prohibited.

“I applaud and thank the youth committee for taking on such an initiative,” said Phil Mutino, PCCCC co-chair, in a statement to the media. “Think about it, these youth whom are the faces of our community have taken on a serious health concern and are providing our elected officials with information and tools in an effort to make Port Chester even better. The enormity of this effort is breathtaking, and hopefully securing spaces in our community that will now be smoke-free for all to enjoy.”

Members of the village's board of trustees also applauded the students and unanimously approved a referral to the village's park and recreation board.

"Congratulations on showing up today, and it's a great thing to do and I will support you 100 percent," trustee Luis Marino said.

Trustee Daniel Brakewood added that it was an excellent presentation.

“It was very well done, very logical and you’re good ambassadors for the school system and the high school, well done," Brakewood said.

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