NYS Tobacco Control Program saves lives, dollars

New York State Tobacco Control Programs have been proven to reduce youth smoking and help current smokers to quit. That is the message representatives from Reality Check took to the New York State Capital recently to inform state lawmakers about established tobacco control programs, many funded by the state, that are now in place to reduce the burden caused by tobacco and to save lives and state tax dollars.

New York state legislators were invited to visit the Well of the Legislative Office Building where local TCP representatives were joined by volunteer youth leaders to answer questions, offer resources and give demonstrations about effective tobacco prevention programs being delivered across the state.

Reality Check Coordinators Jon Chaffee and Sarah Robbins, as well as youth members Ken Dash of West Valley and Taylor Shearer of Olean, participated in the day’s activities by meeting with local state elected leaders and the annual Youth Advocate of the Year Award ceremony. Dash was a youth nominee and took home an Honorable Mention award for Western Regional YAYA. Dash was nominated because of his contributions to his community and efforts to help educate youth and adults about how tobacco companies target young people as replacement smokers.

In Chautauqua County, the youth smoking rate is almost double the rate in all of New York (11.9 percent). According to the 2014 Surgeon General Report, 5.6 million Americans younger than the age of 18 who are alive today, will die prematurely from a smoking-related disease.

“The cost of tobacco use can be measured in dollars and lives. Health care costs are staggering and cost the taxpayers of New York state more than $10.3 billion annually. The human toll is immeasurable in terms of those who suffer debilitating illnesses and numbers of lives lost. The NYS Tobacco control program has made significant progress but there is much more work to do,” Reality Check Coordinator Chaffee said.

The NYS Tobacco Control Program is made up of four modalities with representatives who live and work in the communities they serve. These are Community Partnerships, Tobacco Cessation Centers, Reality Check and the NYS Smokers’ Quitline.

Reality Check is the youth action program within the Bureau of Tobacco Control. Its mission is to expose the deceptive tactics Big Tobacco uses to target youth as replacement smokers, especially through retail marketing and tobacco depictions in media. More information can be found at www.realitycheckofny.com.