Sale of flavored e-cigarettes statewide and all tobacco sales at pharmacies end TODAY in New York State

CandyThe sale of flavored e-cigarettes ends in New York State on May 18, as does the sale of all tobacco products in pharmacies. These are huge steps forward in helping New Yorkers live free from nicotine addiction.

The new laws were passed as part of the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget. New York becomes the second state in the nation to restrict the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.

“There are two things we definitely know about vaping. One: flavors are a major cause for youth to vape, and two: youth who vape are more likely to switch to smoking traditional cigarettes as they get older. In 2018, we saw the first increase in youth smoking rates since 2000. The only major thing that has changed in the tobacco product market place is the popularity of vape products, where they are sold, and how they are marketed,” said Jonathan Chaffee, Reality Check Coordinator of Tobacco Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany.

Research shows that the flavors in e-cigarettes attract kids and the nicotine addicts them.[i] Nearly 40% of high school seniors in New York State use e-cigarettes, also referred to as “vaping,” and 27% of all high school youth vape.[ii]   This new law ending the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in New York State will protect kids from a lifetime of nicotine addiction.

Selling tobacco products in pharmacies has long sent a contradictory message to consumers by offering tobacco alongside medicine or products for illnesses either caused by or made worse by smoking. That ends now in New York State. It also reduces the number of stores that sell tobacco products in every community, an effective way of supporting tobacco users who want to quit and reducing youth exposure to tobacco marketing. “What has been great in Allegany County, is that all independent personally owned pharmacies have not sold tobacco products for years” states Chaffee. There is overwhelming evidence that the more young people see tobacco, the more likely they are to start smoking.[iii]

“We know that preventing the use of any substance, including nicotine, is a major priority and saves countless numbers of lives and future health care costs to society,” said Ann Weaver, Community Educator at Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc.  “Speaking as someone who has assisted people with cessation, I can testify to the fact that adults trying to quit found it frustrating to see tobacco products near nicotine replacement, as the sight of tobacco products often acts as a powerful trigger and produces cravings.”

Support available for New Yorkers who want to quit

For help quitting smoking or vaping, including free nicotine replacement therapy for eligible residents, individuals can contact a health care provider, call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS or visit Effective medications and counseling are covered by Medicaid and most insurance programs. Allegany County residents can also contact the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc. for free cessation services at (585) 593-1920.

Tobacco Free New York State and Reality Check student groups around the state have worked tirelessly to educate local communities about the need to protect children from the billions of dollars of tobacco marketing in places where kids can see it. The statewide “Seen Enough Tobacco” initiative is focused on putting an end to youth smoking and other tobacco use. The average age of a new smoker in New York is 13 years old,[iv] and 90% of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18.[v] Tobacco Free New York State, including the Reality Check student youth groups, is part of the NYS Tobacco Control Program.

Reality Check empowers youth to become leaders in their communities in exposing what they see as the manipulative and deceptive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry. The organization’s members produce change in their communities through grassroots mobilization and education. Reality Check in this area is affiliated with Tobacco-Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties (TF-CCA), a program managed by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

About the NYS Tobacco Control Program

The NYS Tobacco Control Program includes a network of statewide grantees who work on Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities, which includes Community Engagement and Reality Check, the Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York, the NYS Smokers’ Quitline and Surveillance and Research. Their efforts are leading the way toward a tobacco-free society. For more information, visit, and NYSmokeFree.Com.


[i] Flavored Tobacco Products Attract Kids: Brief Overview of Key Issues, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Dec. 2019,

[ii] NYS Dept. of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control, StatShot Vol. 12, No. 4/Oct 2019, Trends in Electronic Cigarette Use Among High School Youth NYS-YTS 2014-2018:

[iii] A Report of the Surgeon General: Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults “Executive Summary” 2012, p. 1, 3:

[iv] Information about Tobacco Use, Smoking and Secondhand Smoke,

[v] A Report of the Surgeon General “The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress” 2014, p. 12, 696, 708:


Preventing Suicide – National Prevention Week 2020

ThereHelp.ThereHopeThe existence of suicide is not a terminal condition. Society is not powerless to respond to an act that ends life prematurely. In fact, many people have made it a mission to bring suicide into the light. Countless lives have been saved through campaigns of awareness for mental health care and suicide prevention. Knowledge, awareness, and empathy are the requirements for effective suicide prevention. You can be one of these people.

Populations worldwide are opening their minds and hearts to recognize the truth that suicide is a preventable, not an inevitable, event. Research, programs, and organizations have been developed that are providing the information and tools citizens need to boldly step forward to save a life teetering on the edge of loss. These developments are supported by local, state, and government organizations to end a stigma that pushed mental health and suicide prevention into a dark closet. This stigma is breaking down as people realize that maintaining mental wellness applies to everyone. This stigma is breaking down as people see suicide as preventable.

New York State is helping to lead the with suicide prevention being currently ranked 49th for suicide death rates in comparison to other states in the U.S. Though suicide is the 10th leading cause of death nationally, and the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 15-34, the steps being taken to break the silence and make it safe for anyone to ask for and get help are making a positive difference. “For every person who dies by suicide annually, there are another 280 people who have thought seriously about suicide who don’t kill themselves, and nearly 60 who have survived a suicide attempt. And, the majority of these individuals will go on to live out there lives”.


The act of suicide is complex. Suicide is not the result of one event or dark moment. Suicide occurs because of a combination of factors that overwhelm the mental and physical strength of a person. These factors are known as risk factors and warning signs.


You have greater strength and power than you may realize to reach out and save a life. Knowledge, awareness, and empathy are the tools you may already have. Trainings, organizations, and online resources are available to empower you to confidently reach out and save someone’s life.

If your life or someone you know is in immediate danger, CALL 911

  • Provide help and support; listen
  • Stay with the person until assistance arrives
  • Remove any objects that may used for harm
  • For additional help call:
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline- 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    • Allegany County Crisis Hotline- 1-888-448-3367
    • Crisis Text Line- text “hello” to 741741


Great Online Resources:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention


Ardent Solutions Network



National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

PPAC Central

Seize the Awkward

Suicide Prevention Center of New York State

Suicide Prevention Resource Center








Vaping Reversing Years of Success Against Youth Nicotine Exposure

For years state tobacco control and prevention programs have been successful lowering youth exposure to nicotine, by lowering the youth smoking rates; unfortunately, vaping is reversing all that hard work. In New York State between 2000 and 2018 the high school youth smoking rate decreased 82%.i From 2016 to 2018 the high school smoking rate increased from 4.3% to 4.8% the first increase in New York State since 2000.i In contrast, use of e-cigarettes among high school youth continues to rise. Between 2014 and 2018, the rate increased fully 160%, 10.5% to 27.4%.i E-cigarettes remain the most commonly used tobacco product among youth surpassing cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and hookah. The same can be said locally as vaping among high school seniors is 38.5% and smoking is 10.8% for high school seniors, which is an increase from 9.7% in 2017.i

This year the response to help reverse youth exposure to nicotine comes in two different forms. First, during Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Prevention Week 8 Allegany County teen leaders from Reality Check and Belfast Central School join more than 300 other youth from around New York State, as well as Nebraska, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Delaware, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Idaho to take on Altria Group executives and shareholders for the fifth consecutive year. Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris USA, is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of tobacco and tobacco products.


In place of live action outside the Shareholder’s Meeting in Richmond, VA, as the youth have done in prior years, they’ve taken their action online, using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to raise their voices during Mobilize Against Tobacco Lies Week of Engagement. Their goal: To engage others, from members of their community to concerned citizens across the world, by drawing attention to the many years of tobacco industry lies and revealing the truth. Everyone is encouraged to follow the social media outlets, like, comment, and share posts.

Seven days of action, seven deadly lies

Going virtual wasn’t the only change event organizers made for 2020. As they pivoted their mindsets from travel arrangements and logistics of a live event to technology and inclusivity of a virtual one, they also extended the once three-day event to seven days.

From Monday, May 11 through Sunday, May 17, youth champions will focus their actions on seven deadly lies the industry has been telling the public for years, countered by facts and truths.



The Seven Deadly Lies are:

  • Nicotine is not addictive;
  • Tobacco marketing is aimed at adults;
  • Using tobacco makes you cool;
  • The tobacco industry is socially responsible;
  • Tobacco products are not harmful;
  • Flavors are not meant for kids; and
  • Menthol isn’t a flavor.


The teens, representing Reality Check from across New York State are mobilizing against the lies told by big tobacco companies, and are telling elected officials and people in their communities: Big Tobacco won’t stop marketing their deadly products, so we can’t stop the fight to share the facts about deadly tobacco products.

Some youth will take their fight right to the top – the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Billy Gifford of Altria Group. Yasmine Arabaty from Olean’s Reality Check was appointed by a shareholder to represent them and address corporate tobacco executives and ask a question on May 14 during the virtual shareholders’ meeting.  Yasmine asked about the difference between heating elements in the new heat not burn product IQOS and regular cigarettes. Yasmine was joined by 6 other youth who were able to ask the CEO a question.

“Philip Morris USA claims it doesn’t market to kids and doesn’t want them to start smoking,” said Jon Chaffee, coordinator of the Reality Check program of Tobacco Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany. “If that’s the case, then why is the tobacco industry spending $9.6 billion per year to market their products[i] where kids are likely to see them?”

Studies show that kids who shop in stores with tobacco marketing, such as gas stations and convenience stores two or more times a week are 64% more likely to start smoking than their friends who don’t shop where tobacco is marketed.[ii]

“Despite what they say, Philip Morris USA spends billions marketing their deadly products right in front of us,” said Yasmine Arabaty, Olean Central  School freshman and Reality Check champion. “And this is only one of the lies they tell. Enough is enough, already!”

Here are more facts:

– According to the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report, if current smoking rates continue, 5.6 million Americans younger than 18 who are alive today are projected to die prematurely from smoking-related disease.

– The average age of new smoker in New York State is 13 years old.[iii]

In preparation for the virtual demonstration on Thursday, May 14, Reality Check youth will spend the days leading up to the meeting, plus three days after, learning about tobacco control policies, how the tobacco industry contracts with retailers to get their products and messages in front of youth audiences, and how they can stand up, speak out and make a difference in the fight against Big Tobacco.

Virtual speakers and trainers include Dr. Phillip Gardiner, a public health activist, administrator, evaluator and researcher with the University of California’s Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, as well as leaders of Dover Youth 2 Youth of Dover, NH and Counter Tools of Chapel Hill, NC.

Secondly, New York State protects youth from a lifetime of nicotine addiction by passing laws that ends the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in New York State on May 18, as does the sale of all tobacco products in pharmacies. These are huge steps forward for New Yorkers health and wellbeing. Research shows that the flavors in e-cigarettes attract kids and the nicotine addicts them.iii Nearly 40% of high school seniors in New York State use e-cigarettes, also referred to as “vaping,” and 27% of all high school youth vape.iv Ending the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies reduces the number of stores that sell tobacco products in every community, an effective way of supporting tobacco users who want to quit and reducing youth exposure to tobacco marketing. Hopefully, these measures will help to get youth exposure to nicotine back on the right track and decreasing.

New York State does have a resource for young people who are trying to quit, which can be found by texting “DropTheVape” to 88709.  The community can also contact the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc. (ACASA) at 585-593-1920 for local help quitting all tobacco products.

All young people who currently use any tobacco product is encouraged to quit, and youth who don’t currently use a tobacco product are encouraged to not start.

Remember Prevention Works!

i New York State Youth Tobacco Survey 2000-2018. Contact the Bureau of Chronic Disease Evaluation and Research, New York State Department of Health at (518) 473-0673 or send an e-mail to StatShots can be accessed online at:

ii Allegany County’s Risk and Protective Survey 2017-2019. Evalumetrics Inc. Feb. 2019,

iii  Flavored Tobacco Products Attract Kids: Brief Overview of Key Issues, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Dec. 2019,

iV NYS Dept. of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control, StatShot Vol. 12, No. 4/Oct 2019, Trends in Electronic Cigarette Use Among High School Youth NYS-YTS 2014-2018:

Marijuana Extracts: THC Concentrates

Shatter, wax, honeycomb, oil, crumble, sap, budder, and pull-and-snap are some of the nicknames for cannabis extracts.  According to the 2019 Street Drugs Identification Guide, an anonymous undercover DEA informant told a news outlet, “There is no weed out there that possesses the punching power that wax does.  It’s like smoking 20 joints of the best grade of weed that you have into one hit of the wax.”

cannabis-concentrates-oilsA marijuana concentrate is also a highly potent THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) concentrated mass that is most similar in appearance to either honey or butter, which is why it is referred to or known on the street as “honey oil” or “budder.”

Marijuana concentrates contain extraordinarily high THC levels that could range from 40 to 80%.  This form of marijuana can be up to four times stronger in THC content than high grade or top-shelf marijuana, which normally measures around 20% THC levels.

One form of abuse occurs orally by infusing marijuana concentrates in various food or drink products, although smoking remains the most popular form of ingestion by use of water or oil pipes.

A disturbing aspect of this emerging threat is the ingestion of concentrates via electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or vaporizers.  Many who abuse marijuana concentrates prefer the e-cigarette/vaporizer because it’s smokeless, odorless, and easy to hide or conceal.  The user takes a small amount of marijuana concentrate, referred to as “dab”, then heats the substance using the e-cigarette/vaporizer.  This produces vapors that ensure an instant “high” effect upon the user.  Using an e-cigarette/vaporizer to ingest marijuana concentrates is commonly known as “dabbing” or “vaping.”

Due to this highly concentrated form of marijuana, the effects upon the user may be more psychologically and physically intense than plant marijuana use.  To date, long-term effects of marijuana concentrate use are not yet fully known.  However, the effects of plant marijuana use include paranoia, anxiety, panic attacks, hallucinations, and increase in heart rate and blood pressure.  Plant marijuana users may also experience withdrawal and addiction problems.

A recent Operation Parent Webinar entitled “Marijuana: Parenting for Prevention in 2020” addressed the above issue with a PowerPoint presentation, including visuals of the various forms of marijuana listed above.  Contact Operation ParentOperation Parent for more information and other valuable resources.

Data-Vizualations-Marijuana-NSDUH-2018Remember, Prevention Works!

More Resources

Talk It Over

Talk They Hear You App

Talk They Hear You Parents Resources

Talk They Hear You Partner Resources

Increase in Alcohol Sales: What Does it Mean for Youth?

In an online Newsweek article dated 4/1/20, a headline read, “U.S. Alcohol Sales Increase 55% in One Week Amid Coronavirus Pandemic”.  According to Jade Bremner‘s article, this information came from Nielsen market research for the week ending 3/21/20.  Favorites included hard liquor, such as tequila and gin, as well as cocktails.  Spirits sales increased by 75%, compared to the same dates in 2019, with beer purchases up by 66% and wine up by 42%.  One restaurant owner speculated that, with the stay-at-home orders, people have more time on their hands to cook special meals and would like to have a bottle of wine (assuming there’s more than one person at the table) with the meal.  Trends like virtual parties and happy hours have added to the “need” to purchase alcohol for home consumption.  This article is only one of many that reveals the reality of this current time. the Prevention field, the concern is how our youth are affected.  “Talk. They Hear You” is a substance use prevention theme of SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), and the “What You Can Do to Prevent Your Child From Drinking” parent resource makes it clear that there are certain factors that may increase the risk of a child’s alcohol use.  These include significant social transitions, such as graduating to middle or high school or getting a driver’s license; a history of social and emotional problems; depression and other serious emotional problems; a family history of alcoholism; and contact with peers involved in troubling activities.  At this time, many youth are experiencing feelings of loss and anxiety at the disruption of a daily school schedule and fear of the unknown.  Although many youth tend to be adaptable and resilient, cancellations of special events such as prom and graduation will be more difficult for some to overcome the disappointment than others.  They may be tempted to self-medicate out of boredom or as a coping mechanism.  Parents and other adults need to be sensitive to each child’s feelings and behaviors, and can be a positive role model by not giving alcohol to their children, whose brains and bodies are not fully developed until their mid-twenties, and showing youth that adults don’t need alcohol to cope with stressful situations.  If liquor is kept in the home, it should be locked in a cabinet, as a connection exists between alcohol use and accessibility.  Engaging in positive behaviors, such as physical and mental exercises, is a good way to bond with youth and find out their sense of reality during this challenging time.  Rewarding young people’s decision not to drink, monitoring their activities, setting clear rules about not using alcohol, and remembering that young people are influenced by the actions of their parents and other significant adults, are all strategies designed to keep our youth well-balanced and healthy.

Help is available locally for youth or adults who may have an issue with alcohol.  Contact the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse at 585-593-6738.  For more information on prevention tips, including how to start the conversation with youth, go to New York’s Office of Addiction Services and Support’s Talk2Prevent.

Remember, prevention works, and everyone can make a difference in a child’s life!

More Resources:

Talk They Hear You App

Talk They Hear You Media

Talk They Hear You Parent Resources

Talk They Hear You Partner Resources

Take It To The Box Still Available: Safe Use, Safe Storage, Safe Disposal

We have endured many changes to our daily routine and plans for the weekend the past month. We have been wearing masks for the past couple of weeks and staying six feet away from each other, some stores that we would shop at have been closed, some have stayed open through appointment, restaurants we frequent only have take out or delivery services and we have not been able to sit and enjoy the ambiance of the noise. Two of my favorite places to eat in Allegany County are the Modern Diner and Texas Hot for this ambiance and experience the hustle and bustle of the diners; it takes me back in time every time I eat there, one thing that has not changed is the availability of the pill drop boxes.

SAMHSA’s website states that two-thirds of teens who misused pain relievers in the past year say they got them from family and friends, including home medicine cabinets, making it important to safeguard medicine in the home.

The other age group that have issues with prescription medication misuse and abuse is the elderly as they are more likely to be taking prescription medications. Individuals 65 years and older account for one-third of all medications prescribed, which is disproportionate to the percentage of the population that they represent, approximately 13% of the population in the United States. Furthermore, the number of people over 65 taking three or more prescription drugs increased from about one-third in 1988 to almost one-half in 2000. Drug misuse and abuse in the elderly is of special concern because it can cause cognitive and physical impairment— putting this population at greater risk for falls, motor vehicle accidents, and making them generally less able to care for their daily needs. Elderly individuals are particularly vulnerable to prescription drug misuse. Misuse is defined as non-adherence to prescription directions and can be either willful or accidental. On average, people over 65 take 14-18 prescription medications a year. That’s a lot to manage, especially when drugs need to be taken at different times of the day. Getting medications mixed up, missing doses, or taking too much or too little of a drug can cause serious health issues.


For these two populations: Safe Use, Safe Storage, and Safe Disposal is important. Take It To The Box medication disposal boxes are still available throughout the county at different locations. There are ten locations throughout the county, located at:

  • Alfred Pharmacy
  • Allegany County Sheriff’s Office
  • Alfred State University Police, Theta Gamma House
  • Cuba Police Department
  • Fillmore Pharmacy
  • Friendship Pharmacy
  • Jones Memorial Hospital
  • Jones Memorial Medical Practice in Bolivar
  • Nicholson Pharmacy
  • Wellsville Police Department

During your Spring cleanup make sure to get rid of all unwanted or unused medications and properly dispose of them. Please do not flush medications down the toilet as studies have shown these medications find their way into our waterways and water supplies. Please do not throw medications away as people who know someone is taking medications can go through your trash to get the medications to abuse them. All medications that are dropped off are taken to an incinerating location that makes them inert.

While disposing of medications at a local drop box, please make sure to follow social distancing guidelines and follow current business procedures.

More Resources

Is Our Medicine Cabinet Safe

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Take It To The Box Flyer

34th Annual Alcohol Awareness Month


This April marks the 34th Annual Alcohol Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) since 1987.  Alcohol-Free Weekend has traditionally been observed the first weekend in April, which is April 3-5.  This is a time when parents and other adults are asked to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages for 72 hours to show our youth that alcohol isn’t necessary to have a good time.  If participants discover they can’t go without a drink during this period, they are urged to call the Allegany Council’s outpatient clinic at 585-593-6738 for signs and symptoms of a possible alcohol related disorder.

No other substance is more widely used and abused by America’s youth than alcohol, making alcoholism and alcohol-related problems the number one public health problem in the United States.

Many youth drink because of social pressure to “fit in” with their peers, while others may drink alone because they are bored or depressed.  This puts them at greater risk for developing alcohol-related problems.  Drinking is also associated with the leading causes of death among young people, including car crashes, murder, and suicide.  Even though teenagers know that people should not drink and drive, almost a third of teens will accept rides from someone who has been drinking.

According to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), those who regularly engage in underage drinking are at a higher risk of using other drugs, engaging in risky behavior, doing poorly in school, and having serious health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

Research has shown that one of the biggest protective factors in reducing the likelihood that a child will develop a substance abuse problem is strong parental disapproval of alcohol and other drug use.  Fostering healthy and responsible attitudes, talking openly and honestly, encouraging supportive relationships, and showing children that their opinions and decisions matter, are all ways to help prevent the use of alcohol and other drugs.

According to a New York State survey, over half the students in grades 7-12 reported that their parents had never talked to them about the dangers of underage drinking.  According to the 2019 Risk and Protective Factor Survey, administered to 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in Allegany County, 85% of students do NOT use alcohol!  Let’s continue to help keep kids safe from alcohol and other drugs by starting the conversation.  For tips on how to do this, visit the Talk2Prevent Parent Toolkit.  For additional information and resources, visit PPAC Central.  Let this be your call to action, and remember, PREVENTION WORKS!

More Parent Resources:

Family Day Parent Toolkit

KidsHealth Talking to Your Child About Drugs

Office of Addiction Services and Support Talk 2 Prevent Parent Toolkit

SAMHSA’s Talk They Hear You


National Drug Facts Week

DrugFactsWeek.2020.2This March 30th marks the 10th National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, first launched in 2010 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).  The purpose of this week is to counteract the myths that youth get from the Internet, television, movies, music, or friends, and replace those myths with scientific facts about drug abuse and addiction.  The more informed our youth are about substances and the negative impact those substances can have on their lives, the less likely they are to engage in risky behaviors.  “Shatter the Myths” is a free NIDA publication that parents can use to talk to their kids about substance abuse.

NIDA’s “Family Checkup: Positive Parenting Prevents Drug Abuse” report highlights five questions relevant to parenting skills that help prevent the initiation and progression of youth drug use.  The questions emphasize calm and clear communication about relationship issues, encouraging positive behaviors on a daily basis, negotiating emotional parent/teen conflicts and working toward a solution, ability to set limits when behavior ranges from defiant or disrespectful to more serious problem behavior, and monitoring teens to assure that they are not spending too much time unsupervised.  The “Family Checkup: Positive Parenting Prevents Drug Abuse” has a copy of these questions and video clips that display positive and negative examples of the skills, as well as additional videos to help parents practice positive parenting skills.

According to the local Allegany County data from the 2019 Risk and Protective Factor Survey, 12th graders reported the following related to 30-day substance abuse.  70.8% had NOT used alcohol; 89.2% had NOT used traditional cigarettes; 61.5% had NOT used e-cigarettes; and 85.4% had NOT used marijuana.  We can all do our part by supporting our youth, getting the facts, and reminding them that NOT all youth are using substances, which is a popular myth among this population.

Remember, Prevention Works!

March is National Reading Month

ReadingMonth_social mediaThe Hope Center at Wellsville is working to help children and adults overcome reading difficulties, including dyslexia, which can have multiple negative impacts upon their lives.

The Hope Center, an initiative of the Mission Genesee Valley coalition of churches and other Christian organizations, is located at 4194 Bolivar Road (State Route 417 West) – #5, next to McDonald’s.  In addition to free reading assistance, the facility also houses drop-in, information and referral, and public and church education centers, along with a developing Christian lending library.  Monthly learning opportunities on a wide range of subjects involving life issues also are provided.

A significant percentage of both children and adults in Allegany County have reading difficulties.  At younger ages this can lead to bullying by others, lack of self-esteem, juvenile delinquency and the inability to learn in some areas.  As individuals age into adulthood, negatives can include difficult interpersonal relationships, trials in obtaining higher paying jobs, the embracing of negative behaviors including substance abuse, and even incarceration.

Sometimes parents take children out of public schools due to feelings they aren’t being helped and attempt to teach them at home, while not understanding the reasons for reading difficulties or being aware of the teaching techniques which can be important in helping their child.

Although individuals may be labeled as having reading or learning disabilities, they often are very gifted in other areas and, if able to overcome these difficulties, become very successful in highly thought of occupations such as music, education, engineering, psychology and science research.  Many famous people, including international leaders, have been determined to be dyslexic.

Early intervention is important, with significant speech delays, such as not starting to talk with at least a few words by a child’s first birthday, stuttering, the inability to tie shoes, difficulty in spelling one’s last name, and oral speech articulation with letters such as r, l, m,, n and sh/ch, difficulty memorizing, and poor spelling,  being some of the noticeable trends.

Individuals, family members and friends seeking more information in regard to this or other assistance for individuals or families can contact Casey Jones, Hope Center Planning Group chair at or (484) 435-0503.  The group’s ongoing activities also are available at and

Smoking STILL in Youth-Rated Movies


The Oscars hit the screen on February 9, in response Reality Check groups across New York state effort was in observance of International Week of Action which is held each year during Oscar season to bring awareness to their community members about smoking in films. Reality Check tries to build awareness of smoking in youth-rated movies and support for youth-rated movies to include smoking. The Surgeon General’s Report concluded that exposure to onscreen smoking in movies causes young people to start smoking.
• If current rates continue, 5.6 million youth alive today who are projected to die from tobacco related diseases.
• Giving an R rating to future movies with smoking would be expected to reduce the number of teen smokers by nearly 1 in 5 (18%), preventing up to 1 million deaths from smoking among children alive today.
For the past six years (2015-2020), Smoke free Movies has looked at smoking in Oscar-nominated movies and by Oscar-nominated actors. Here’s a summary of what that data shows.
• 2019 films Oscar-listed in major categories in 2020 feature tobacco imagery(17of 18 films),88% of the youth-rated features listed (7 of 8).
• This is a substantial increase since the 2015 Oscars. On the bright side, youth-rated films Oscar-listed in 2020 averaged the fewest number of tobacco incidents in six years.
• Youth-rated films Oscar-listed in 2020 delivered 69% fewer in-theater tobacco impressions than films Oscar-listed in 2019 (1.8 billion vs. 5.7 billion audience exposures).
• However, the sum total of 13.7 billion tobacco impressions delivered to in-theater audiences from both youth-rated and R-rated Oscar-listed films was by far the highest in the six years covered in this survey.
These statistics do not include smoking incidents young people are exposed to on television, the internet, and streaming services. For more information on smoke free movies website.

Remember Prevention Works!