The Beginnings of Tobacco Free Nebraska
Community Partners has been working on reducing tobacco use since 1997. The Buffalo County Tobacco Free Coalition received grant funds ($6,500) to reduce teen and pre-teen tobacco use.
Reducing smoking was one of the major focus areas in Community Partners report to the community in 2000. Community Partners had collected data of smoking in the Buffalo County Area. As a result of the data collected, the Youth Advisory Board students wanted to increase the percent of smoke free restaurants in Buffalo County. In 2001 the data showed that 45 percent of restaurants in Buffalo County were smoke free. In 2009 it became 100 percent smoke free.
In 2000 the Youth Advisory and the Buffalo County Tobacco Free Coalition teamed up with the Tri City Storm to promote “yes” to hockey an “no” to tobacco. After this campaign they focused on the businesses and restaurants in town going smoke free. Lists were made and posted online and in the paper about the places that were smoke free. The most notable outcome was reducing youth tobacco use by 45%.
The Youth Advisory Board students scheduled a meeting on March 12, 2003 at the State Capitol. The youth advocated for a smoke-free Nebraska and for stronger alcohol use penalties. The youth presented a press conference in the Rotunta. The goal of the meeting was to provide an atmosphere where Buffalo County youth could advocate for issues
that were important to them. In June 2009, a huge victory for Nebraska, the Legislature passed a state wide Clean Indoor Air Act.