Smoking Rates Remain High in Southern Tier, but Attitudes are Changing

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013 | Categories:
Smoking Rates Remain High in Southern Tier, but Attitudes are Changing

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM-18) - New numbers show people in the Southern Tier are now less accepting of people smoking in public. But ten years after the state banned indoor smoking, health leaders say smoking is still at high levels locally.

The Chemung County Board of Health looked over a new survey Tuesday night. It showed that 85.8% of people in Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties favor restricting or banning smoking around building entryways. That includes 66.2% of current smokers. The survey was conducted by the Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Community Partnership, which surveyed 1200 people in the three counties.

The Board of Health said even though attitudes are changing, they're trying to reduce smoking, especially in Steuben and Chemung counties. One in four people in Chemung County smoke, according to a study this year from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. That’s nearly twice the national average. A board member said education is the most important tool, about health and other effects.

"We need to educate from the economic point of view,” said Thomas Kump of the Chemung County Department of Health. “Tell people, ‘look at all the other types of things you could do with the money If you didn't spend it on tobacco.’ And another thing I think will see in the future is more restrictions on where you can and cannot smoke."

According to research given out by the state, in the three and a half years after the indoor smoking ban took effect, 15% fewer people than expected in New York were taken to the hospital with heart attacks. 

Wednesday will mark ten years since the Clean Indoor Air Act was enacted. 

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