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Bellone, Tomarken Review Suffolk County’s Progress in Promoting Tobacco Cessation

Leaders offer local response as the nation hails the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health

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Suffolk County, NY - January 8, 2014 - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Health Commissioner James Tomarken, MD, MPH, MBA, MSW, join the nation’s leaders in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking, which was released on January 11, 1964.
Noting that comprehensive tobacco control grew largely out of grassroots efforts, Executive Bellone said, “Suffolk County has been a trailblazer in promoting the health and well-being of its residents and nowhere is that more evident than in our tobacco control efforts. Not only are our clean indoor air laws among the strictest in the nation, Suffolk County was one of the very first municipalities in the nation to ban the sale of tobacco to those under the age of 19. The county has also done an exceptional job in helping residents to quit.”
Timeline of Suffolk County Tobacco Cessation Initiatives:
2000: Launched a comprehensive four point program which included:
  • School –based programs  targeting youth to prevent the initiation of tobacco use
  • Smoking  cessation programs to assist those who want to quit
  • Counter tobacco advertising, public information and education
  • Enforcement of the existing tobacco control laws.
2001: Banned the distribution of free tobacco products to county residents.
2002: Banned smoking within 50 feet of street- level entrances to hospitals and county buildings. In 2006 the ban was strengthened to include all entrances.
2003: Passed comprehensive clean indoor air laws that banned smoking in restaurants and included a sunset clause for smoking in bars.  Later that year, New York State passed its own clean indoor air laws that included bars, though Suffolk County law is still stricter in some areas.
2005:  Banned the sale of tobacco to individuals under the age of 19.
2009: Banned the use of electronic cigarettes in places where smoking is banned and prohibited the sale of e-cigarettes to individuals under the age of 19. (Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, an addictive drug found in the tobacco plant.)
2012: Required hookah lounges to install carbon monoxide detectors and signage that states shisha is a tobacco product.
“Though both the nation and Suffolk County have made tremendous progress over the years in reducing the use of tobacco, we have more work to do,” said Dr. Tomarken. “We urge Suffolk County residents who have resolved to quit smoking to sign up for one of our cessation classes. It is there that they will get the help and support they need to increase their odds of being successful. ”
Suffolk County “Learn to Be …Tobacco Free” classes are free to Suffolk County residents, though there is a fee for medication if a participant is medically eligible. January classes are as follows:
Good Samaritan Hospital (classes held at Breast Cancer Health Inc.), 32 Park Ave., Bay Shore
Thursdays from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., January 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; February 6 (Contact: 376-4444)*
Suffolk County Department of Health Services, 725 Veterans Highway, Bldg. C928, Hauppauge
Tuesdays from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., January 7, 14, 21, 28; February 4, 11 (Contact: 853-2928)*
St. Charles Hospital, 200 Belle Terre Road, Port Jefferson
Thursdays from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., January 9, 16, 23, 30; February 6, 13 (Contact: 473-7848)
Riverhead Public Library, 330 Court St., Riverhead
Tuesdays from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., January 14, 21, 28; February 4, 11, 18 (Contact: 727-3228)
Brookhaven Memorial Hospital, 101 Hospital Road, Brookhaven
Mondays from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., January 27; February 3, 10, 24; March 3, 10 (Contact: 654-7778)
Connetquot Public Library, 760 Ocean Ave., Bohemia
Thursdays from 6:00 –7:00 p.m., February 13, 20 27; March 6, 13, 20 (Contact: 567-5079)
Stony Brook Tech Park, 14 Technology Dr., Suite 1, East Setauket
Tuesdays from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., February 18, 25; March 3, 11, 18, 25 (Contact: 444-4000)
St. Catherine of Siena Hospital, 20 Route 25A, Smithtown
Mondays from 6:00 –7:00 p.m., February 24; March 3, 20, 17, 24, 31 (Contact: 870-3444)
*Registration is open until the date of the second class. Call 853-4017 for more information.