By Arriana Patraw, Project Coordinator
On March 31, thousands of youth advocates and community organizations from across the country will stand up and speak out against the tobacco industry, including many here in the North Country.
Take Down Tobacco’s national day of action aims to amplify the work of countless public health agencies, community based organizations and advocacy groups working to prioritize the health of our nation’s youth over the financial interests of giant tobacco companies — companies that, contrary to their new PR campaigns, continue to aggressively market deadly products to kids.
The toll of tobacco still runs rampant in our communities, even with historic progress to reduce smoking and tobacco use rates; it is still the number one cause of preventable death in the US, killing nearly half a million people annually — more than AIDs, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs and suicides combined. And most smokers start as kids: 90 percent of adult smokers started in their teens or earlier. The costs to individuals are heavy, but the costs also get passed on to the rest of the population: smoking-related health care costs exceed $240 billion annually.
Here in the North Country, our partners are hosting events in solidarity with the national day of action on March 31. In Plattsburgh, Tobacco-Free Clinton-Franklin-Essex will gather folks at the Champlain Centre Mall from 4:30 to 6 p.m. To learn more, contact Alice Ladue at (518) 536-6995. Elsewhere, students at Malone Middle School will host an event, though this will not be open to the public
If you’re a tobacco user and need help quitting, or a healthcare provider looking for resources to help patients, a new collaboration between The Heart Network and Glens Fall Hospital can help. North Country Nicotine Consultants provides resources and consultation to health care providers to help increase delivery of comprehensive, evidence-based treatment for nicotine addiction.
We hope you’ll join us on March 31 to make our voices heard and take down tobacco. To host your own event or learn more, visit takedowntobacco.org.