Local law kicks off 2013 Great American Smokeout

MAYVILLE – On July 28, 2013 Chautauqua County Legislators voted to enact a comprehensive tobacco free property and grounds law. Local Law 4-13 prohibiting the use of tobacco products on Chautauqua County property and grounds goes into effect today and kicks off the Great American Smokeout.

Although this is the 38th year of the Great American Smokeout, tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death, killing more than 25,000 New Yorkers every year.

A current smoker, Stacey Caldwell, Supreme Court Clerk, pledged today to quit smoking as part of the Great American Smokeout and she invites other smokers to join her and quit.

“I feel that the new law that is going into effect today is both healthy and beneficial to not only the non-smokers in the County but to the smokers as well,” said Caldwell. “As a current smoker, this new law will assist me in my efforts to quit, leading me to a healthier lifestyle and an even better environment for my daughters.”

“Univera Healthcare is pleased to have contributed to this effort,” said Art Wingerter, Univera Healthcare president. “If just one person gives up smoking as a result of this new policy, it will be a success.”

Quitting smoking is the single most important step individuals can take to reduce their risk of cancer. The American Cancer Society suggests that 60 percent of cancers could be avoided if people stopped using tobacco. Smoking is the major cause of lung cancer which is responsible for more deaths than the next three most common cancers combined (breast, colon, and prostate).

As part of the 2010-2013 Chautauqua County Community Health Assessment, the Health Planning Team identified chronic disease prevention as a priority area with tobacco use reduction a must and set goals to reduce the prevalence of adult smoking to less than 12 percent and reduce the prevalence of youths who have smoked in the past month to less than 12 percent. This coincides with the New York State Prevention Agenda which strives to reduce illness, disability and death related to tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.

The New York State Tobacco Control Program effectively reduces tobacco use, saves lives and saves money. The Department of Health estimates that approximately 35 percent of the total decline in adult smoking is attributable to prevention strategies. The significant reduction in smoking among young adults will reduce future health care costs by approximately $5 billion.

“Efforts to help smokers quit and keep youth from starting to smoke will continue to have a major impact on the health of New York State and Chautauqua County, now and in the future,” said Laurie Adams, program director of the Tri County Tobacco Free Programs. “We hope smokers take advantage of all the resources available today for the Great American Smokeout and give quitting a chance.”

For a free personalized quit plan, contact New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-800-866-NY-QUITS or www.nysmokefree.com.