Tobacco use is a leading cause of preventable death and disease worldwide, killing more than 7 million people each year globally, including 480,000 adults in the United States and 28,200 right here in New York State. This local and global death toll is so concerning that the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated an annual awareness day (May 31) called World No Tobacco Day.

The Squirrel in Olean’s Lincoln Park is sick of (and from) tobacco litter.

This year, we worked with tobacco-free champions and community partners in all nine counties of Western New York. Our mission: to reduce tobacco use by calling attention to the health and other risks associated with it.

Here’s a quick look of three events:

In Niagara County: Reality Check students at Lockport High School put their drawing skills to work to drive change by Chalking the Walks outside their school.

Thomas Shrader, a Reality Check teen from Lockport, stands his sidewalk ground on World No Tobacco Day.

Go Lions! Way to spread the word and inspiration to quit tobacco (or even better, never start).

In Wyoming County: The Reality Check youth (and TF-GLOW team) set up display boards and tobacco cessation resources at the Wyoming County Library in Warsaw. Thanks to our partners at Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free Western New York for providing materials.

Thanks to Warsaw County Library director, Lisa Gricius, for spreading the word on the health impact of tobacco use.

In Cattaraugus County: Reality Check champions from Olean High School, burned up by the issue of tobacco litter in their parks, spent the afternoon placing orange flags wherever they picked up cigarette butt filters, cigar tips, chew cans, cigarette packs, cigarillo packaging. The result: a sea of orange that they hope will inspire city leaders to establish a smoke free parks policy in Olean. 

That’s how we celebrated World No Tobacco Day in our part of the world. To find out how you can be a part of next year’s celebration, call Gretchen Galley today at 845-1300, X4207.