It is common knowledge that many people make an effort to change bad habits as a New Year’s resolution — among the top 5 is to quit smoking. In Oswego County, the New York State Tobacco Control program has been active, encouraging people to quit and providing help and resources to do so. Our local Community Partnership, the Cessation Center housed at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Reality Check (working with youth) and the New York State Smokers’ Quitline are all part of the Tobacco Control Program.
It is unfortunate that, once again, the Tobacco Control budget in the state is on the “chopping block” as our state government makes important decisions about funding for programs. The Tobacco Control budget has been reduced annually for the past three years, and another significant cut is being discussed.
That very same Tobacco Control Program has been instrumental in Oswego County with helping our local hospital to become a smoke free campus, and in helping Oswego Hospital to begin free monthly smoking cessation classes for our community.
Additionally, nicotine patches, gum and lozenges were provided to our local clinics for use for their patients to help them quit. The Smokers’ Quitline has been used by thousands in Oswego County. The Cessation Center actively assists clinicians in our county to implement systems to help patients quit, and the local Community Partnership has been successful in getting policies changed in Oswego County that offer us clean outdoor air, and limits marketing to youth.
In a report released last September, the adult smoking rate in New York state was estimated at 17 percent, but Oswego County’s rate was 24.7 percent. Sadly, tobacco settlement money that comes to New York state is being diverted away from its intended purpose — to help our community to become healthier. Oswego County is worth the investment.