Last week, CVS announced its decision to no longer carry tobacco products. It came after a new report last month from the Surgeon General found that smoking may be more dangerous than originally thought. That report was one of many reasons tobacco control advocates came to the Capital on Wednesday. Erin Connolly has the story.
NEW YORK STATE -- "I have been smoking probably since I was 14-years-old," said one smoker.
Teresa Hyatt is like many other smokers to start early and have trouble trying to quit. Her struggles inspired her 15-year-old son Daniel to join youth reality check, a program aimed at removing tobacco imagery from stores.
"Studies prove the more imagery in a child's life, the more chances a child will start smoking," said Daniel Hyatt, Youth Reality Check Media Consultant.
Teresa and Daniel were among hundreds of tobacco advocates from across the state who gathered at the Capital Wednesday. They answered questions, gave demonstrations, and detailed why group cessation programs and the New York State smokers quit line are essential.
"Some people coming to our program have been smoking for 50 years and they want to quit but they don't know how. They have these psychological triggers that hit them all day long and they don't know how to get around that," said Erin Sinisgalli, Smoking Cessation Center for Seton Health.
Advocates also used the opportunity to speak with lawmakers and ask them for increased funding for programs that help smokers quit. They say it'll help save lives and dollars.
"Tobacco cost New York over $10 billion in healthcare costs so if we could reduce some of the death and disease caused by tobacco we're actually going to save money which is a win-win," said Michael Seilback, American Lung Association.
While a lot of progress has been made there is still a lot more work to be done. Teresa Hyatt is living proof lighting up is a habit that is tough to break.
"The end goal for me is to quit smoking completely. Not too long ago, I quit for a month and a half. I'm on this kick about getting healthier and part of it is quitting smoking," said Teresa Hyatt, Tonawanda.