LIBERTY, NY — World No Tobacco Day, sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), is held each year on May 31, and brings together people around the world to stand up against Big Tobacco. …
LIBERTY, NY — World No Tobacco Day, sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), is held each year on May 31, and brings together people around the world to stand up against Big Tobacco. The celebration helps to inform the global community of the dangers of tobacco use, the manipulative and deceptive marketing and business practices used by tobacco companies and what groups and individuals around the world are doing to fight the tobacco epidemic.
Each year in New York State, 28,200 adults die from smoking. Sullivan County suffers from the highest rates of smoking in the Hudson Valley, with a rate higher than the state average. according to the Mid-Hudson Regional Community Health Needs Assessment.
In an effort to raise awareness of this issue, Sullivan 180 partnered with Tobacco Free Action Communities (TFAC) to bring CATCH My Breath, an evidence-based vaping prevention program, to Sullivan BOCES and the Liberty Middle School Boys & Girls Club. The program describes the danger of vaping; teaches how to avoid, refuse and exit situations that involve the use of e-cigarettes; and discusses advertising and implied messaging that targets youth.
Over several weeks Amanda Langseder, Sullivan 180 managing director and Jessica Kenneda, Reality Check lead coordinator for TFAC led the program.
“Tobacco companies see young people as replacement smokers, even referring to them as potential customers,” said Kenneda. “While many believe tobacco use is not a pressing issue anymore, people are dying preventable deaths and youth are starting lifelong addictions with the use of nicotine products, including vapes. [Given that] the average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13 years old, there is still significant work to be done.”
Tobacco companies have created new products (e-cigarettes for example), including flavors like menthol and other kid-centric flavors (bubble gum, cotton candy and fruit) just one of the ways the tobacco companies lure new customers, according to the press release. The tobacco industry has traditionally targeted youth and communities of color with the marketing of menthol products. It is known that menthol makes cigarettes easier to start and harder to quit.
The Sullivan County community continues to create smoke-free environments, including at local fire departments. Several fire departments involved in the Healthiest Fire Department Challenge have adopted smoke-free grounds policies. This is true of many businesses and organizations across the county.
Garnet Health offers Freedom from Smoking classes to help people quit, and many schools are working hard to prevent youth from being exposed to vapes and cigarettes, and helping those students that are struggling with it as an addiction.
Support for teens is available at www.thetruth.com/, or by texting DITCHVAPE to 88709. Adults who need help can call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 866/NY-QUITS or visit www.nysmokefree.com.
Effective medications and counseling are covered by Medicaid and most insurance programs.
Sullivan 180 is working to build a healthy community, one degree at a time, through people, places and policy with support from Bold Gold Media Group, the River Reporter, the Sullivan County Democrat, Manor Ink and WJFF Radio Catskill. Learn more at www.Sullivan180.org or www.Facebook.com/Sullivan180inc. Story contributed by Sullivan 180.
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