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Schoharie County Reality Check Marks 50th Anniversary of Surgeon General Smoking Warning With Local Success Story

Written By Editor on 1/14/14 | 1/14/14

On Thursday, January 16, 2014, the 32nd Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health will be released in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health released in January 1964. This report was the first report to the American public that identified smoking as a cause of lung cancer in men.
 
The Surgeon General’s 32nd Report on Smoking and Health provides new findings on the health effects of smoking along with a call to end the continuing tobacco use epidemic. In New York, tobacco remains the leading cause of premature death and disease, with the highest smoking rates among the poorest New Yorkers who disproportionally suffer the deadly consequences of tobacco use.
 
We at Reality Check of Delaware, Otsego & Schoharie Counties, along with local tobacco control advocates are marking this anniversary by celebrating local resident, Chris Tague’s 8 weeks being smoke-free, and drawing attention today to the tremendous health and financial burden caused by tobacco use in Schoharie County.
 
The January 1, 2014 edition of the Times Journal (page 6 of Section 1) featured the article "His Fresh Start: Reality Check, GASO helping longtime smoker Chris Tague quit" highlighting Mr. Tague’s courage and strength to quit a lifelong habit, with the help and encouragement of Reality Check of Delaware, Otsego & Schoharie Counties.
 
"We celebrate Mr. Tague and encourage others to follow his example and quit smoking," said C.J. Smith, Program Coordinator for Reality Check of Delaware, Otsego & Schoharie Counties. "The 50th anniversary and new Surgeon General’s Report confirms that it is time to end the smoking epidemic once and for all – especially for your children."
 
New York State is a leader in tobacco control with strong clean indoor air laws, the highest tobacco taxes in the nation; smoke-free outdoor laws, youth prevention initiative, and cessation programs that together have led to substantial reductions in smoking rates among adults and youth, thanks in part to programs like Reality Check. However, more than 25,000 New Yorkers still die every year due to tobacco use. 
 
The New York State Tobacco Control Program effectively reduces tobacco use, save lives and saves money. The Department of Health estimates that approximately 35% of the total decline in adult smoking is attributable to youth prevention strategies. The significant reduction in smoking among young adults will reduce future health care costs by approximately $5 billion.
 
In New York State, the smoking rate for middle school students has declined to 3.1% and the smoking rate for high school students has declined to 11.9%². The adult smoking rate for 2013 in Schoharie County is 23%, and is much higher in some parts of the state. One objective of the "Schoharie County Community Health Assessment & Improvement Plan" (November 15, 2013) submitted by the former Public Health Director of the Schoharie County Department of Health, Asante Shipp-Hilts, MPH – is to reduce the percentage of smokers in Schoharie County from 23 percent to 20 percent by 2017, with a targeted focus on adults with annual household income of less than $25,000.
 
"It is hard to believe that we are still fighting this deadly product 50 years later", said Mr. Tague. "We’ve made tremendous progress, but we must continue to tackle the enormous financial and health burden that tobacco use causes our community."
 
Reality Check is a statewide youth-led movement against the tobacco industry and their manipulative and deceptive marketing practices. Reality Check is composed of teens 13-18 committed to exposing big tobacco and preventing them from targeting youth with their marketing. Reality Check strives to create positive change in our community through grassroots activism, community education, media campaigns and political education.


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