Elmira anti-smoking center will target efforts at poor, less educated, those with mental issues

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Saturday, October 6, 2012 | Ray Finger | Categories:
The Tobacco Cessation Center at Arnot Health has adopted a new plan that focuses on people more likely to smoke: the poor, the less educated and those with mental health disorders. To do this, the center is working with programs that serve people with mental health disorders and organizations that serve rural and lower socioeconomic populations to develop a formal tobacco treatment policy and help with staff training. The center’s new focus comes after state and federal data show no decline in smoking or tobacco use among adults in these populations from 2000 to 2010. According to 2010 statistics from the state Department of Health, tobacco use is down 15.5 percent among adults and 12.6 percent among teens. However, smoking rates among people who are poor, less educated and have mental health issues have not changed. “We need to address this growing disparity and the negative impact it has on the health of our community,” said Martha Donovan, program coordinator at the center. The Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Community Partnership, a partner of Arnot Health under the state Department of Health’s Tobacco Control Program, supports the approach. “They are targeting those specific demographics for the nicotine replacement therapy,” program coordinator Stacy Gerow said. “We do agree with their stand on it — that that is a need.” Donovan cited the recently released 2012 American Cancer Society report, “The Cancer Burden in New York State,” that shows men in Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties have among the highest rates of lung cancer, exceeding the state average. The American Cancer Society report also recommends increased funding for the state Tobacco Control Program that provides funding for the Tobacco Cessation Center at Arnot Health.
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