ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Capital District Tobacco-Free Communities (CDTFC) and St. Peter’s Health Partners, who are partners of the New York State Tobacco Control Program (NYS TCP) will meet with state lawmakers on Tuesday regarding tobacco control efforts, and how they’ve decreased state residents tobacco use and smoking-related deaths. Despite the decrease in tobacco usage and smoking-related deaths, CDTFC says there are still unmet needs, as 28,200 adult New Yorkers die yearly from smoking.
NYS TCP has taken numerous steps to reduce the rate of tobacco use in New York over the years, including assisting public, affordable, and market-rate property owners turnover of 44,000 multi-unit housing units to be tobacco-free for the health and safety of residents. 163 medical healthcare organizations and 152 mental healthcare organizations have been assisted in implementing processes to ensure patient screening and treatment for tobacco dependence during their appointments.
In addition to stifling tobacco usage, NYS TCP looks to decrease other smoking-related illnesses including 280,000 New York youth 18 or younger who die prematurely from smoking. They’ll also look to reduce the rates of vaping and e-cigarette use. According to the NYS TCP, nearly one in four high-school-age youth in the state vape or use e-cigarettes.
“Teenagers should never be using e-cigarettes,” said Erin Sinisgalli, Director, Community Health Programs. “There’s a lot of concern in the public health world about what ingredients are actually in e-cigarettes.”
One big talker will be banning flavored cigarettes such as menthol and other sweet-flavored tobacco products, making them more appealing to children. CDTFC says these flavors make it harder for people to quit smoking and easier to pick it up.
“We know that menthol, along with sweet, fruity flavors in tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, make tobacco products taste better and feel less harsh on the throat, making them more appealing and easier for young people to use,” said Jeanie Orr, Program Manager, Capital District Tobacco-Free Communities. “Flavors also create the impression that these products are less harmful than they really are,” added Orr.
New York currently invests $39M into the state’s tobacco control program, for which the CDC recommends a $203M investment. Just 1.6% of that is invested.
“Quitting on your own is very hard,” Sinisgalli said. “But research shows that when health care clinicians discuss tobacco use and offer patients treatment and support, it increases the likelihood of success by 30 percent. Even brief discussions – lasting less than three minutes – is effective.”