Area smoking rate declines
More local residents are kicking the habit. The latest New York State Health Department survey shows Buffalo-Niagara's smoking rate is down by one third compared to five years ago. In Erie County, 18.8% of adults are smokers. In Niagara County it's 20.8%. But the Chair of the Department of Health Behavior at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Dr. Andrew Hyland, says the declines are not uniform across the population.
"The smoking rates in those with the lowest education, lowest income, have essentially remained unchanged over the last several years. So the progress that's being made is in the more affluent groups. Which really speaks to a need for continued further investment, outreach, to help those people who need the most help," Hyland told WBFO News.
Hyland attributes the decline to higher cigarette taxes, the implementation of smoke-free policies, and Albany's investment in tobacco education, including hard-hitting ads about the dangers of cigarette smoking.