Letter to the Editor

Applauding Cuomo for his Tobacco Legislation

February 8, 2019 – The Mountain Eagle – Schoharie, NY

Dear Editor,

As you are well aware, tobacco products are highly addictive and responsible for the preventable death and disease of more than 28,000 people in New York each year. This is an average of 76 individuals every day. Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of death in not only New York State, but the country as a whole.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has concluded that nicotine is as addictive as cocaine or heroin. In addition to the health consequences of tobacco use, the economic burden of tobacco use among young adults and youth is significant.

Many smokers started smoking before the age of 18; in fact, the average age of a new daily smoker in New York State is 13. Additionally, e-cigarette use among New York youth doubled from 2014 to 2016. Studies show that raising the tobacco sale age to 21 would have a substantial impact on tobacco use among youth and young adults.

Our community is particularly affected by the dangerous effects of nicotine; the current smoking rate of New York State is 14.2 percent compared to 18.1 percent and 23.4 percent for Schoharie and Delaware counties respectively.

I am proud that Middleburgh Pharmacy and Medical Supplies does not sell tobacco products or paraphernalia. As Pharmacist in Charge, I offer patient counseling on smoking cessation and nicotine replacement therapy. I was eager to work with Advancing Tobacco Free Communities – Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties (ATFC-DOS) last year to adopt a tobacco-free policy for my business. ATFC-DOS educates the community and decision makers, mobilizes community members around the problems that tobacco addiction causes in local communities, and helps decision makers understand the types of  choices that they have to address these problems

As a pharmacist, I was pleased to learn that Governor Cuomo has developed a comprehensive package of tobacco-control-related legislative and budget priorities for 2019. Governor Cuomo’s measures to protect youth from nicotine addiction and a statewide focus on reducing tobacco use among disadvantaged groups is the comprehensive effort needed to save New Yorkers’ lives.

I wholly support the proposal to end the sale of tobacco and electronic cigarette products in pharmacies as well as raising the minimum sales age for tobacco and electronic cigarette products from 18 to 21 and restricting tobacco and electronic cigarette product displays and discounts.

I urge community members and elected officials to rally around these statewide tobacco control proposals.  Preventing and reducing tobacco use are the most important public health actions that can be taken to improve the health of both the young and old in New York State.

Peter Camporese III