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Health & Medicine

Expert Credits Local and State Policies with Slashing High School Smoking Rates


There might be tens of thousands fewer smokers in Central New York thanks to county and state policies that have proven to curb tobacco use.  Today is the 38th annual Great American SmokeoutTobacco Free Onondaga County’s Jackie Shostack says higher cigarette taxes, and other measures have cut smoking rates.

“With our comprehensive New York State tobacco control program, with our clean indoor air, with our higher taxes, it’s contributed to a 53% reduction in New York’s smoking rates among High School Students.  (They dropped) 27.1 % in 2000 down to 11.9 % in 2012.”

The trend is continuing.  This Smoke-out day prevention officials are celebrating at least three new institutions adopting smoke free policies.  Come January Family medical Care Group and Carrier Corporation will no longer allow smoking on their grounds.  In 2015 Le Moyne College will follow suit.  Shostack calls smoking the leading cause of preventable death…she also says 22-thousand people each year die from second-hand smoke.  She adds the majority of smokers want to quit.


While smoking prevention advocates got to celebrate progress for their cause during Thursday’s Great American Smokeout,  the day supported by The American Cancer Society and other groups is a time to encourage people to stop smoking. 

Tobacco prevention experts are encouraging more places to go entirely smoke free because it leads to a reduction in smoking rates.

Tobacco Free Onondaga County spokesperson Jackie Shostack explains one recent push is to make more places smoke-free.

“Working with apartment owners and property owners and managers to adopt tobacco free multi-unit housing policies, getting companies to adopt tobacco free ground policies, our parks and playgrounds initiative.  There’s so many things that are happening that are good things and we’ve been able to reap the benefits.  But there’s still a lot that we need to do.”  

She says these kinds of policies have reduced smoking rates.  New York’s highest-in-the-nation cigarette taxes are also a deterrent.  Shostack adds 16-percent of adults in Onondaga County are smokers.  She encourages anyone who does smoke to consider going to the website: for assistance, including tips, cessation programs and even financial assistance for some methods.