Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the adult smoking rate has fallen to the lowest in New York State’s recorded history as a result of the state’s wide-ranging tobacco cessation and prevention efforts. The statewide adult smoking rate is 14.2 percent as of 2016, a 22 percent decline from 2011 and below the national average of 15.5 percent.
“These record lows demonstrate that New York’s anti-smoking efforts are working,” said Governor Cuomo. “Reducing smoking — and the death and misery that come with it — is critical to protecting public health and we will continue our work to create a safer and healthier New York for all.”
Unfortunately, in Allegany County much has not changed with its adult smoking rate, which is still more than 28 percent. A high smoking rate has led to cancer as the chief cause of death in Allegany County, closely followed by heart disease, stroke, and lower respiratory disease. The one thing that all of these causes of death have in common is that they can all be associated with tobacco use. The Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc.(ACASA) at (585) 593-1920 x713, offers free cessation classes and nicotine replacement therapy products. Also, the New York State Smokers’ Quitline is a free service for smokers and can be reached at 1-866-697-8487. It is never too late for a person to quit smoking and take back his/her health from tobacco use.
Governor Cuomo previously announced that the high school student smoking rate fell to an historic low of 4.3 percent in 2016, down from 27.1 percent in 2000. More bad news for Allegany County as the high school student smoking rate of 8.2 percent is almost double the state average. However, the Department of Health also found that e-cigarette use by high school students increased from 10.5 percent in 2014 to 20.6 percent in 2016. More positive news is that Allegany County’s high school student use of e-cigarettes is13.9 percent, which is lower than the state average. This low rate could be connected to the existence of “only” two vape stores in Allegany County, but most convenience stores and chain stores, such as Dollar General, sell e-cigarette devices. In 2017, Governor Cuomo signed legislation banning the use of e-cigarettes on school grounds and adding e-cigarettes to New York’s Clean Indoor Air Act.
Overall, 24.5 percent of Allegany County high school students indicated that they used some form of tobacco product. The use of any tobacco product can lead to severe health issues in the future. Tobacco use is attributed to 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States. In order to combat the high tobacco use rated among the young people of Allegany County, the legislature is considering amending the current purchase age of tobacco products from eighteen to twenty-one.
Reasons for this consideration of amending the current law is:
If you are concerned about the amount of youth that use tobacco products in Allegany County, please contact your legislator and let her or him know, that this topic is important to you.
January 22 to January 28 is National Drug Facts Week. Organizations use this week to educate their communities on the dangers of different drugs. Partners for Prevention in Allegany County (PPAC) uses this week to highlight facts about certain drugs that people may not realize. Most people know that alcohol use can lead to loss of inhibitions, memory, decision-making skills, coordination, and physical controls which can all lead to harmful actions or even death. It is also known that when young people under the age of twenty-one drink, it increases their risk of being injured. In 2011, 188,000 people visited an emergency room due to alcohol related injuries1, physical or sexual assault, and annually 4,358 young people under the age of twenty-one lost their life due to alcohol related causes.1 But, did you know that alcohol use also raises the risk of getting cancer? Alcohol use has been linked to cancers of the: mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, liver, colon and rectum, and breast.2
You are probably thinking the risk of cancer is all dependent on what type of alcohol you drink…….wrong. Most evidence suggests that it is the ethanol that increases the risk of cancer. Ethanol is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic drinks, whether they are wines, beers, liquors, or other drinks. Alcoholic drinks contain different percentages of ethanol, but in general, a standard drink of any type: 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor, contains about the same amount of ethanol, which is approximately half an ounce. Obviously, the stronger or larger drinks can contain more ethanol than half an ounce. So, in conclusion, the amount someone drinks over time, not the type of alcoholic beverage, seems to be the most important factor in raising the risk of getting cancer.
In theory, the earlier a person begins drinking, the more alcohol he will consume in his lifetime, which raises his risk for cancer. In Allegany County the high school rate of underage drinking is 22%. Adults need to have a conversation with the young people in their lives about consequences of alcohol use at a young age and the adult’s expectation that underage drinking is inappropriate and illegal. Children whose parents talk to them regularly about the dangers of underage drinking were 42% less likely to drink alcohol. Conversation resources for parents can be found at TALK2Prevent to help with starting the conversation about underage drinking.
Remember Prevention Works!
According to the New York State Smokers’ Quitline, if you are concerned about a smoker you know, there are certain things you should understand. First, understand the addiction. For some users, the nicotine addiction is so powerful that it can seem almost impossible to quit. Even a few hours without nicotine can be painfully difficult and make it hard for a smoker to cope with routine situations and behave normally. Acting as both a stimulant and depressant for most people, nicotine does offer benefits to the smoker. Second, understand that quitting is a five stage process, and that you, as a support, have a role in each stage. (The following also applies to smokeless tobacco users.)
In stage one, the smoker is not thinking about quitting. Your role is to support and care for him whether he smokes or not. In stage two, the smoker is thinking about quitting, but is not ready to quit. Your role is to offer information about where to get help, but let the smoker decided when to quit. The smoker is getting ready to quit in stage three, at which time you can offer to give something up as a sign of support. Praise your friend for trying when he is quitting in stage four, and show him that you admire his determination when he has quit in stage five. Understand that your friend may shift back and forth between stages before quitting for good, and realize that, in addition to breaking the physical addiction, quitting tobacco requires lifestyle changes and altering daily routines. Your role is to encourage your friend to develop a plan for how to live without cigarettes by helping him identify what makes him want to smoke, and plan ahead for those situations. Third, understand how you can help by asking your friend what would be the most helpful thing for you to do. Listening, expressing health concerns, reminding him of the reasons for quitting, helping to research methods of quitting, and being sympathetic to physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms are a few of the positive supports you can offer. Lecturing, giving ultimatums, making him feel guilty for not quitting, complaining, smoking around your friend, or encouraging him to smoke again are not supportive behaviors. With this in mind, ask yourself if you are a source of positive support, or if you are causing more stress for the person you are attempting to help. If you truly want to help, remember to be sensitive and understand that your role is to support your friend, not force him to quit.
For more suggestions, contact your local resource at Allegany Council, 585-593-1920, ext. 713, or call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487).
At the Western New York Chemical Dependency Consortium’s 28th Annual Holiday Award Luncheon on November 17, Jane Foster of Literacy West received a 2017 “Gold Key Individual Award” for her outstanding contributions to the cause of substance abuse prevention.
Jane Foster has been employed by Literacy West/C.O.R.E. as the Home to School Coordinator at Belfast Central School since January, 2012. In the school setting, Jane provides character education for Pre-K-6 in a variety of classrooms, is part of the New York State Mentoring Program for grades 4-8, and provides classroom assistance in the 7th grade health class for “Building Blocks of Emotional Health.” She is also involved in Rachel’s Club for bullying prevention in 3rd grade and up, high school writing labs for social and emotional health checks, and the backpack program that supplies food to students over the weekend.
In March of every year, during the school’s Open House, Jane organizes an interactive community health and resource fair for Belfast families. As prom approaches, Jane involves the students in the “Promises” campaign, launched under her direction a few years ago. In collaboration with the Drug-Free Communities Coalition PPAC (Partners for Prevention in Allegany County), the “Cherished, Not Lost, Treasured, Not Tossed” slogan evolved into a media campaign with T-shirts, wristbands, posters, and table tents to bolster public awareness. For the last few years, a substance-free post-prom party has been held, consisting of positive alternatives and breakfast foods and snacks prepared by Allegany County Sheriff Whitney and PPAC Coordinator Jon Chaffee.
During home visits, Jane shares local resources with the families and makes appropriate referrals. She assisted in establishing the Belfast P.T.O. (Parent Teacher Organization), which currently donates a minimum of $5,000.00 yearly to students, families, and community causes.
In October, Jane usually attends the local SADD conference and brings students to Allegany Council’s Bob Weigand Memorial Move-a-Thon. Last year, for Homecoming, Jane’s brainstorm was for elementary, middle, and high school levels to each decorate a particular section of the school with a substance abuse prevention message, with prizes available for the winner. She invited ACASA to judge the messages and the prizes were awarded at the assembly. School spirit and healthy competition were fostered, and Jane was able to motivate staff to encourage student participation. This same month, Jane was the contact for ACASA staff to present current trends to school staff, which was positively received.
Each November, Jane participates in a two-day Natural Helpers retreat with 6th grade students who are selected by their peers. Throughout the year, with assistance from ACASA staff, Jane conducts follow-up sessions with those students. The following May, students attend the PPAC meeting with her, and the students perform healthy lifestyle/prevention skits that they have created, which may include singing and dancing to enhance a prevention message.
As an active member of PPAC, Jane attends movie nights and other positive alternatives. Last year, it was Jane’s idea to interview community members to find out what resources people are aware of, and what the community is lacking. She is also involved with Family Matters, a subcommittee of PPAC which focuses on family rules and supervision.
Until recently, Jane worked part-time for Finger Lakes Parent Network and facilitated teen groups for youth with mental health and/or self-esteem concerns in Belfast and Friendship. At least twice a year, she invited ACASA staff to present substance use information to the groups. Jane also coordinated presentations for parents and continually encouraged them to stay involved.
At community level, Jane assisted in ongoing fundraising efforts until the faith-based Lifeway Youth Center became a reality a couple of years ago. As a Board member and Scholarship Chairperson of the Allegany County Area Foundation, she assists in developing scholarships for youth and awarding civic grants to local organizations.
Jane is an active member on the Allegany County Suicide Prevention Coalition. She attends annual training for Sources of Strength and was awarded the Sources of Strength Train the Trainer certificate in August, 2017. Additional training includes Trauma Informed Care, ASIST, CONNECT, QRP first aid training for suicide prevention and mental health first aid training for working with youth. If you see Jane, please say “Thank You for making our community a better place to live.”
Kudos to Jane for her tireless motivation to spread the message that PREVENTION WORKS!
‘Tis the season for sled riding; cookie baking; and Sunday afternoon football…
Thoughts of holiday activities bring a smile to your face, but did you know these cherished activities have a lasting positive impact on your children? Children from birth to adulthood need regular, interactive time and attention from their parents. The benefits of family time are clear.
Kids that spend high-quality time with their parents are happier and have higher self-esteem than their peers. They get along better at school and have better grades. They are less likely to have mental or behavioral health problems and they are less likely to abuse tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana. They have lower rates of depression, eating disorders, sexual activity, and suicide. In addition, when something bad does happen to them, they are more resilient and they recover more quickly than their peers.
This holiday season, let’s make a commitment to give all Allegany County kids the protective benefits of regular family time.
In December and January, share photographs of your family’s favorite activities on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the hashtag #ACfamilytime for a chance to win dinner for four at Wellsville’s Famous Texas Hot ($40 value).
Have a wonderful holiday season and remember “Families Matter!”
Sponsored by PPAC, Family Matters, and Wellsville’s Famous Texas Hot Restaurant.
The impact poverty has on youth was the topic of ACCORD’s most recent community forum held October 24, 2017 at the David Howe Public Library. Three senior Teen Advisory Board members alongside a school district administrator Katie Ralston, a retired officer Bernie Reilly, and trauma specialist Justin Towers, spoke regarding personal experiences and research regarding the impact of rural poverty on youth. Students attending report the continued need to add the voice of their generation to large scale community issues such as poverty.
“In small communities we look out for one another,” noted a TAB member when describing her volunteer efforts at the mobile food pantry. In Allegany County one in four students is living below the poverty level.
“Growing up in a home with poverty increases the likelihood of trauma,” affirms Towers. This leads to a myriad of other issues discussed by the panel.
Tobacco-Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany (CCA) and Reality Check students at Fillmore Central School are encouraging members of our community to commit or recommit to healthier, tobacco-free lives by participating in the Great American Smokeout on November 16.
This year to celebrate Great American Smokeout, the Fillmore Reality Check group had their peers take selfies then shared them on social media to support raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 in Allegany County. The group also added the stat “90% of adult smokers started smoking by the age of 18” to their post. Most underage tobacco users get their tobacco products from peers in high schools that are 18 and currently legal to purchase tobacco products. By making the legal age to purchase tobacco products 21 it would cut off that ease of access that many youth have in their own high schools. The Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc’s school survey shows that over 27% of high school seniors in Allegany County use some form of tobacco product. Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, along with 8 other counties, and New York City have raised the age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21.
“Tobacco use continues to be a public health concern, for smokers and non-smokers alike,” says Jonathan Chaffee, youth coordinator at Tobacco-Free CCA. “Smoking is an addiction and quitting is definitely not easy. The annual Great American Smokeout is a great opportunity for community members who smoke to take that difficult first step to quit by asking for help. Even better, it’s a way we can send a message to our youth to not start smoking.”
Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. About half of all Americans who keep smoking will die because of the habit. Each year more than 480,000 people in the U.S. die from illnesses related to tobacco use. This means smoking causes 1 out of 5 deaths in the U.S. annually.
Yet, because tobacco is one of the strongest addictions one can have, about 40 million Americans adults still smoke, including 26.8% of adults in Allegany County. The reason: tobacco is addictive, and quitting is a process. It starts with a plan, often takes time and requires a lot of support.
“The most important thing current smokers can do to improve their health is to quit cigarettes and other forms of tobacco,” said Ada Sylvester. “And we want our generation, our classmates and friends, to be the one that says no to cigarettes and other tobacco use.”
About the Great American Smokeout
The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By quitting—even for one day—smokers will take an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk.
Thursday, November 16th, marks the 42nd Great American Smokeout, a day set aside for smokers and other tobacco users to abstain for at least one day, in hopes that people will quit completely. The idea began in 1971 when Arthur Mullaney, a Massachusetts resident, asked people to quit smoking for a day and donate the money they would have spent on tobacco to a local school. Shortly after Monticello Times editor Lynn Smith led Minnesota’s first “D-Day” (Don’t Smoke Day), the American Cancer Society’s(ACS) California chapter encouraged nearly one million smokers to quit for the day on November 18, 1976. Due to the success in California, the ACS took the event nationwide in 1977, maintaining the third Thursday in November as the target date.
Research shows that smokers are most successful in “kicking the habit” when they have some means of support, such as nicotine replacement products, counseling, prescription medicines to lessen cravings, guide books, and the encouragement of friends and family members.
According to the ACS, 1 in 5 deaths in the United States is smoking related, and 87% of lung cancer deaths are attributed to smoking. Lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer death, is also the most preventable. If you would like to “kick the habit”, but you are not sure what steps to take, call the Allegany Council at 585-593-1920, x 713, for tips on how to quit and stay quit. Assistance is also available for users of smokeless tobacco.
Don’t allow yourself to become a replacement smoker or a statistic…join millions of Americans today on a journey to a healthier you!
This past Saturday, October 28, was the Drug Enforcement Administration’s second National Prescription Drug Take Back of 2017. Like so many communities across the country, Allegany County had two locations at the Friendship Ambulance Squad and Fillmore Pharmacy where community members could drop off unwanted or unused medications.
The pill drop events have been taking place in Allegany County since 2008. This has been a partnership between the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Inc.(ACASA), and Partners for Prevention in Allegany County(PPAC). “These events are an outlet for community members to get rid of old or unused medications in a safe manner,” said Coalition Coordinator Jon Chaffee. “We hear from people all the time that they are so grateful for these events because they did not know what to do with their unused medications otherwise,” said Chaffee.
This year, 32 cars participated, for a total of 148 pounds of medications turned in, which included 1259 pills and 1000 milliliters of controlled substances. The street value of these controlled substances is estimated at well over $15,000.
“Utilizing the DEA’s Take Back Day twice a year allows us to reach out to communities without pill drop boxes and help educate the community about proper disposal of medications,” said Undersheriff Kevin Monroe.
Allegany County has seven pill drop boxes throughout the county at: Alfred State University Police, the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office in Belmont, Cuba Police Department, Fillmore Pharmacy, Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville, Jones Memorial Medical Practice in Bolivar, and Wellsville Police Department. “Pill Drop boxes throughout the county are an asset and are being used quite often,” said Monroe.
The group would like to also thank the Fillmore Pharmacy, Friendship Police, and volunteers from Jones Memorial Hospital for partnering with them on making the Take Back Day a successful one. For more information on Take Back Day or pill drop box locations, please visit www.ppaccentral.org.
On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year. If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence, there is help readily available.
ACCORD Community Action Agency offers access to opportunities, resources, and services to strengthen individuals, families, and communities. Free and confidential support services are available through ACCORD for domestic violence victims and their children at their 24-hour Domestic Violence hotline: 1 (800) 593-5322. In 1987, ACCORD began administering their Domestic Violence Prevention Program. Today, ACCORD secures approximately $7 million in grant funds each year to provide residents with services including small business, child care referral, domestic violence, emergency food, Head Start, homeless and housing, and after school programs.
With nearly 8 million days of paid work each year lost due to domestic violence issues, join us in bringing awareness to Domestic Violence during the month of October!