The global tobacco epidemic is killing 6 million people every year, but students and leaders at the Iroquois Job Corps Center in Medina are taking action steps to further reduce smoking rates and protect youths from tobacco marketing. To celebrate good health students at IJCC wrote poems, drafted songs and created a PowerPoint presentation to highlight the importance of World No Tobacco Day.

World No Tobacco Day, sponsored by the World Health Organization, is observed annually on May 31 and brings together people around the world to stand up against big tobacco. According to WHO, tobacco is the worst public health threat the world has ever faced; causing 100 million deaths in the 20th century and on trend to cause 1 billion deaths in the 21st century.

World No Tobacco Day creates awareness about the risks associated with tobacco use and provides an opportunity to recognize local leaders and communities advocating for and creating change to reduce tobacco use. “It seems very fitting for the students in our Healthcare Careers program to promote World No Tobacco Day as they will be caring for people with health issues; some with lung cancer, COPD, emphysema and other tobacco-related illnesses,” said Melinda Maedl, business community liaison at IJCC.

“World No Tobacco Day is a day when the world is coming together to speak out against tobacco and the toll it continues to take on our communities,” she said. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in New York state, killing 28,200 New Yorkers every year and afflicting nearly 600,000 New Yorkers with serious disease directly attributable to their smoking. Annual health care costs directly caused by smoking are $10.39 billion in New York state, including $6.62 billion paid by the state Medicaid program.

New York state has taken several steps aimed at curbing exposure to tobacco.  One example is the comprehensive Clean Indoor Air Act which passed more than 10 years ago. The law was one of the first in the U.S. and started a trend around the nation and the world to protect people from secondhand smoke in indoor spaces including bars, restaurants and workplaces.

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