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Reality Check Talks Tobacco with Assemblyman Miller

Tranquility Cleveland and Riley Mance, 7th grade students at Cherry Valley-Springfield Central School and Reality Check youth advocates with Advancing Tobacco Free Communities in Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties (ATFC-DOS), sat down with NYS Assemblyman Brian Miller (Assembly District 101) at his office in New Hartford last week to talk about the negative impacts of tobacco use. Linda Wegner, Program Director with ATFC-DOS and Deyanira Cisneros, Community Engagement Coordinator with ATFC-DOS accompanied the youth.

According to Tranquility Cleveland, “Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the state. The average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13.”

“We’ve seen enough tobacco marketing. The more tobacco marketing kids see, the more likely they are to smoke. 29 New Yorkers under age 18 become new daily smokers every day. We need to make changes so we can build tobacco-free generations,” said Riley Mance.

Across New York State Reality Check empowers youth to become leaders in their communities in exposing the influence of tobacco industry marketing on youth tobacco use. The organization’s members produce change in their communities through grassroots mobilization and education.

While youth smoking rates have significantly declined, electronic cigarette use among the state’s middle and high schoolers has doubled from 2014-2016 and studies show e-cigarettes can be a precursor to cigarette smoking in youth, even those who were not likely to smoke cigarettes.

Tobacco control and cessation efforts have helped reduce the New York State adult smoking rate to 14.2 percent, but the fight is not over. The smoking rates in the Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie region are 22.9 percent for Delaware County, 26.3 percent for Otsego County and 19.3 percent for Schoharie County.

Action still needs to be taken to decrease youth exposure to tobacco marketing, including electronic cigarettes; increase tobacco-free outdoor environments; and eliminate smoking in multi-unit dwellings. ATFC-DOS/Reality Check collaborates with agencies, organizations, institutions, businesses, municipalities and elected officials to help build healthier communities.