Smok­ing rates in area coun­ties higher than state’s

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS -

Adults in Ul­ster, Orange and Sul­li­van coun­ties smoke more on av­er­age than adults across New York state, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion.

In re­cent years, sta­tis­tics com­piled by the Cen­ter for a To­bacco Free Hud­son Val­ley, a grant pro­gram of the Amer­i­can Lung As­so­ci­a­tion of the North­east, found smok­ing among New York adults has dropped from 24 per­cent to 15.1.

Lo­cally, adult smok­ing rates fell to 21.1 per­cent in Ul­ster County, 15.7 per­cent in Orange County and 24.5 per­cent in Sul­li­van County, ac­cord­ing to CDC data.

Ul­ster County Ex­ec­u­tive Michael Hein has made it a goal to make Ul­ster the health­i­est county in New York.

Su­san Len­non, a to­bacco pro­gram man­ager for To­bacco Free Hud­son Val­ley, said smok­ing rates are un­changed in cer­tain de­mo­graph­ics.

“That is pop­u­la­tions with low in­comes, which are de­fined as less than $15,000 a year, pop­u­la­tions with low ed­u­ca­tions, which is less than a high school diploma, and pop­u­la­tions with poor men­tal health,” Len­non said as ex­am­pled.

Orange County Leg­is­la­tor James DiSalvo said he would like to raise the age to pur­chase to­bacco prod­ucts in the county from 18 to 21.

He said the pro­posal is aimed at young peo­ple’s health and wal­lets.

“It (smok­ing) hurts their health at a younger age,” DiSalvo said. “I think it in­creases health prob­lems later down the road, and be­ing ad­dicted to the to­bacco prod­uct is dif­fi­cult to shake.”

The CDC says 40 per­cent of all can­cers are re­lated to to­bacco use.

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