Reality Check students from all nine counties of Western New York joined 200+ youth advocates from around the state at the Capitol building for Tobacco Control Legislative Day on Tuesday, February 6. 

Advocates meet with Senator Tim Kennedy on the Senate floor before discussing their tobacco-free fight.

Their single most important message to elected officials: We’ve had many successes (smoking rates are down overall) but the fight isn’t over. Here’s why:

 1. People with poor mental health have the highest rate of smoking in in New York State. It’s 33.7%.

2. One of the tobacco industry’s targeting strategies is the less educated. 27.5% of New Yorkers with less than a high school education smoke.

3. Poor communities are exploited by Big Tobacco in New York State. 26.8% who earn less than $15,000 a year smoke cigarettes.

4. Another population that warrants a fight is youth. E-cigarette use by NYS youth doubled from 2014-2016.

5. The average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13. That is way too young.

6. Every year, tobacco-related healthcare costs New York $10.3 BILLION. We can save lives and money with reducing tobacco use.

Reality Check youth from Olean High School and Falconer Central tell Senator Cathy Young about all the lives and money that are lost in their communities to tobacco use.

If you’d like to join the tobacco-free fight, call us at 716.845.1300 today. We can always use the support.