Local Students Begin Campaign to Discourage Smoking; Assemblywoman Galef Supports Effort

April 7, 2006

McLean Crichton and Scott Davidson, interns at Assemblywoman Galef’s office, are working to discourage magazines from carrying advertisements for tobacco products. “Medical doctors play an important role in the fight against the tobacco industry. Accordingly, it is important that they promote a message of a healthy lifestyle, from their medical advice to media in their waiting rooms,” says Crichton.

Davidson and Crichton also want the event to alert doctors as to which magazines carry tobacco advertisements, so that they will not have these magazines in their waiting rooms. Pat Hysert, leader in the Task Force for Tobacco-Free Women and Girls, remarks, “Tobacco ads are especially inappropriate in doctors' offices where they undermine smoking cessation messages and tend to ‘normalize’ the use of these very un-normal products.”

Davidson and Crichton want to persuade all doctors, not just physicians, to ask their patients about smoking, inform them of the associated health risks, and advise them against smoking. The first step is removing these magazines that promote a harmful message.

“Healthier lifestyles are the first step toward a better society. A good example needs to be set by doctors to promote healthier habits at home. The associated costs of health care and the inability of people to reach their full potential are two of the many reasons why smoking is such a serious risk today,” said Galef.

Crichton and Davidson are seniors at Hendrick Hudson High School and Croton Harmon High School, respectively. They are coordinating their efforts through the office of Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, who runs a large internship program for students in her district. Both students have been interns at Galef’s office since summer 2005.

“Doctors have a great responsibility to promote wellness from the moment a patient walks into our office and throughout their visit. We have a finite amount of time to convey our message to patients and the literature we provide in our waiting rooms must reflect our commitment to healthy living,” notes Dr. Adina Keller, OB/GYN.

“Tobacco products are extremely unhealthy. It is important that people know the risks, and that doctors help their patients make informed decisions” said Davidson.