Return home

Local tobacco prevention advocates meet with lawmakers

Posted 3/1/23

The average adult smoking rate in New York State is now 12%, or 1.7 million adult New Yorkers smoke, down from more than 23% in 2001, and the youth smoking rate is down to 2.4% from 27.1% in 2000.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Local tobacco prevention advocates meet with lawmakers


ONEIDA — Leaders of BRiDGES Tobacco Prevention Program and Reality Check youth, a partner in the New York State Tobacco Control Program, recently met with state Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-53, Rome, and in the offices of the Assembly members Brian Miller, R-122, New Hartford and Marianne Buttenschon, D-119, Marcy, at the state Capitol in Albany to discuss efforts to reduce New Yorkers’ tobacco use and smoking-related deaths and disease.

They shared details of tobacco control progress and areas of continued need since over 28,200 adult New Yorkers still die every year from smoking.

They also stressed that funding for the state’s Tobacco Control Program is just 1.6% of the state’s annual tobacco revenue. The NYS TCP continues to make immense progress in reducing smoking.

The average adult smoking rate in New York State is now 12%, or 1.7 million adult New Yorkers smoke, down from more than 23% in 2001, and the youth smoking rate is down to 2.4% from 27.1% in 2000, program officials said.

However, in addition to the over 28,200 adult New Yorkers who still die every year from smoking, another 750,000 suffer with smoking-related illness. Despite the reduced cigarette smoking rate, 280,000 New York youth currently under the age of 18 will die prematurely from smoking. And, vaping, or e-cigarette use, is still dangerously high. Nearly one in four high-school-age youth in New York State vape/use e-cigarettes, the most used tobacco product among youth, the officials added.

“Attending meetings at the Legislative Building in Albany was a great experience for myself and the Reality Check youth that attended, Emily Benedict, a 10th grader from Cazenovia High School, and Karly Vaas, an 11th grader from Cazenovia High School,” said Valarie Webb Lead Reality Check Coordinator. “The youth were able to give the Legislators a first hand view into what they are up against when it comes to tobacco and vaping in their community.”

The NYS TCP promotes an environment open to change

New York State passed several landmark tobacco control laws in 2020, ending the sale of flavored vape products — including menthol vapes — and the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies statewide; prohibiting tobacco coupons and other discounts; and restricting the exterior display of tobacco product ads near schools, officials said.

Over the past five years, tobacco control partners have assisted public, affordable and market-rate multi-unit property owners transition over 44,000 multi-unit housing units to be free of tobacco smoke for the health and safety of their residents, officials said. Also, during that time, Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York assisted 163 medical health care organizations and 152 mental health care organizations in implementing processes that ensure every patient is screened and treated for tobacco dependence during their appointment.

Smoking rates remain high among certain demographic groups; more work is needed to save New Yorkers’ lives and improve their health NYS TCP’s policy-driven, cost-effective and evidence-based approaches contributed to a substantial decline in tobacco use. These approaches are now further focused on communities and populations with high tobacco use rates, program officials said, adding that throughout New York State, smoking rates remain high among:

  • Adults who report frequent mental distress at 19.7%
  • Adults with less than a high school education, at 19%
  • Adults with an annual household income of less than $25,000, at 20%
  • Adults enrolled in Medicaid, at 22.9%
  • Adults living with a disability, at 17.4%

Support is available for New Yorkers who want to quit 

The New York State Smokers’ Quitline is a confidential service for all New York State residents who wish to overcome tobacco use, including e-cigarettes.

Free offerings include individualized coaching and assistance with quit-planning from highly trained tobacco treatment specialists, text and online chat support and free shipping of stop-smoking medications such as nicotine patches, nicotine lozenges or nicotine gum for those 18 and older, according to program officials.

Residents of all ages may contact the Quitline for support and educational materials.

In addition, the Quitline encourages teens and young adults ages 13 to 24 to text “DROPTHEVAPE” to 88709 to join “This Is Quitting,” a free texting support program for help with quitting vaping.

Go online to for more information or call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) seven days a week, beginning at 9 a.m. 


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here