Big Changes in Week One

BetterU Participant Judy Shares Her Week One Recap!

Judy and Emily, 2018 BetterU Challengers after working out

The 3D body scan gave me a scare! Actually, seeing the scan probably was the best thing because it made me really commit and realize I had to make a change to Better Me.

I had a good week . I had a week off from work which made it easier. Changed a lot of things in my life. Cleaned out my cabinets and refrig of all the things I should not be eating and tried to fill with healthy foods. I begin to exercise which I haven’t done in so long it is hard to remember when. Tried to prepare myself mentally for the challenges ahead. Week 1 made me realize that at the end I had much more energy  from the previous week before I started. Didn’t know that it could happen so soon but I am committed to keep going forward!

I went to the gym 6 six times and to 4 classes ( Bodypump, bodyflow, sneakers and Zumba). I was able to do this  because of the ladies in this challenge with me that supported and motivated me through.  Otherwise, I’m sure I would not have completed whole class. They are a great group of ladies.

I enjoy all the information from former participants in the BetterU program . It does make it real hearing their stories. Thanks for all the support motivation and enthusiasm you give. I am really looking forward to first team training and the seminars! I am so blessed to be part of this journey!

By |August 13th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Strong Start to BetterU

Blog post by 2018 BetterU Participant EMILY DARROW!

The BetterU journey is amazing. I’m still in disbelief that I was lucky enough to be chosen by this program. During Friday’s orientation and public announcement, I was so moved by each of my BetterU Class of 2018’s stories – my amazing teammates on this journey. Then, during the speeches, Denise VanBuren floored me with the statistic that more women die from heart disease than any of the cancers combined. I know I knew that, but until that moment, really hadn’t processed it. It made this interior call to action to first apply and then really commit to this program all the more important. Lisa Morris just rocked it as she shared her experience last year – and that the downside was having to buy new clothes as she lost weight!

As we toured the gym with Phil, I looked at all the equipment, the dedicated gym goers using it, and felt more than a little fear. My gym experience is heading in and using the pool – that’s it. Now I’d be traveling way out of my comfort zone. When we had our first team training after the tour with the samples of the different programs, I was more than afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up. How would my knee do? But first Lindsay gave a wall option for push ups – YES! Then DQ just had this general air of reassurance as he took us through a great drill. By the end of the time, I won’t say I wanted more, but I knew that this was just what I needed!

Today, I’m really looking forward to my first meeting with my trainer. I’m a little nervous about where I’ll stand with both the baseline read from HealthQuest and the full body scan at Gold’s this afternoon, but I’m all about knowing the good – and the bad. Last night, I went on a treadmill for the first time in years. I thought it would be “easy.” Ha! I was feeling it when the time approached 10 minutes, but convinced myself to continue to 15, then to keep going to make the mile, then a little more to burn 150 calories, then 175.

And then it slowed down. I’d made it to the magic 30 minute mark. I think that made me feel as good as practically anything.

But activity is just one of the things that has to be modified during these 12 weeks. I know that changing and enhancing diet is also key. A week ago, at a friend’s urging I downloaded an app and began tracking every meal. This has been incredibly eye opening. I’m not a sweets person. I don’t like breads. But just a few teaspoonfuls of sugar and cream in my coffee was something that had to go. I think summer is the easiest time to diet as the fresh fruit and veggies are all around us in the Hudson Valley. For lunch (and a lot of dinners), I just have a simple watermelon salad, with a sprinkling of feta and mesclun. It’s filling, easy and delicious. I’ve lost 8 pounds since last Monday, with a LOT more to go. But even more important than the weight loss is the empowerment and support by being surrounded by 13 amazing and inspirational women. Thanks, BetterU!


By |August 1st, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Small Changes Add Up

Blog post provided by BetterU Challenger JAIME BUTLER!

This is our first week of being a part of the American Heart Association Better U Makeover Challenge and it has started with a bang.  The kickoff event on July 27th was such an uplifting experience that energized all of the 2018 participants to get up and go!  A huge thanks to our sponsors: Gold’s Gym, Central Hudson, Q92 & HealthQuest Medical Practice for making all this possible for us.  Then the weekend started and I started to try and absorb all the information that I had been given and make sense of how I was going to fit in all of the to-do’s with my already very lengthy to-do list from being a full-time working Wife/Mom of two young boys.  I’m not going to lie, I started to feel some anxiety creep up on Sunday morning about how I was going to make all this work.  And then, I went to Gold’s for my first solo workout and while I was using one of their newer elliptical type machines (sorry Phil, I can’t for the life of me remember what you called it but I know “lateral” was in there somewhere!) I started to think about various way I could move and bend my schedule to get this in, or make that, or keep track of this and make sense of that.  And there it was, right there in front of me.  I have already been doing things and moving in the right direction.  Although it seemed sort of overwhelming, I had made small changes here and there to get me towards my goal of being overall healthier.  The right food choice here, the additional movement there, the choosing water over a diet soda, the serving size of something instead of going wild.  I didn’t even know I was doing it at the time, but it was all happening and it was all for better health.  All those small changes are more points in the positive column of effects on my health and those around me.  So, yes, it may have seemed daunting at first, but if I just give myself a little time and a little breathing room I will find that I’ll take stock of those positive changes and realize I’ve already accomplished more than I thought I could so I just need to keep on goin’!


By |July 31st, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |1 Comment

Kickoff Complete!

BetterU Blog Post #1 – from Sheryl DeStafeno-Bowe

Sheryl on Day 1 of the 2018 BetterU Challenge

Kickoff complete!

It was so great meeting our team and hearing each others’ stories. This is really a great opportunity! The more tools for health, the better!

Have to say that I was feeling really low when we had our workout at the end, because everything was so hard for me. My arthritis knees and feet were really hating my guts. I don’t know if I can do this😫.

By |July 30th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |13 Comments

Women Selected for 9th BetterU Heart Health Challenge

The Dutchess-Ulster American Heart Association announced the 14 women selected for their 9th BetterU Makeover Challenge at a kick-off event at Gold’s Gym in LaGrange Friday. BetterU will assist the women on their journey toward improved heart health through lifestyle changes. The 12-week BetterU program is sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation. The program’s goal is to remind all women of the need to make healthy lifestyle choices to prevent their number one and five killers – heart disease and stroke.

Each of the 14 women will receive a three-month membership and personal training at Gold’s Gym, a baseline medical evaluation from Health Quest Medical Practice, and nutrition coaching, heart health seminars and group workouts. They will chronicle their progress on the AHA’s Hudson Valley blog at

The program helps women to make their health a priority in their lives. Prevention efforts and lifestyle changes can prevent more than 80% of heart disease in women, according to the AHA. The AHA recommends that all women have a Well Woman annual physical and discussion with their doctors to help identify serious health concerns before they become life threatening – such as heart disease and stroke. Heart disease takes the life of one in three women — almost one woman every minute. It claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

The BetterU 12-week program begins July 27th and concludes at the Go Red for Women Luncheon on November 9, 2018 at the Grandview. Follow their progress online here on this blog: and on social media:

For tickets or info on the Luncheon, visit or call Danielle Schuka at 845-867-5379.  BetterU is sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, Gold’s Gym, Heath Quest Medical Practice and Q92 Radio. Go Red For Women is sponsored national by Macy’s and CVS Health, and locally by The Heart Center | Vassar Brothers Medical, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, and The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel and Conference Center.

Denise Doring VanBuren, of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, BetterU Sponsor

2018 BetterU Participants’ Personal Goals

Jaime Butler, Poughkeepsie – “I am looking to increase my strength, stamina and learn the healthy habits I can use to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle so I can set the example for my children and other family members who struggle with weight issues to avoid heart and other health issues.”

Emily Darrow, Hurley – “I’m hoping to lose weight, get in better shape and, most importantly, learn how to create a healthier lifestyle. With a family history of high blood pressure and heart disease, I know how important this is – now and for the future! “

Anne DeMuro, Poughkeepsie – “ I have spent years on a diet and exercise yo-yo.  My hope is to get my weight to a heart-healthy number and keep it there! I want to gain energy and regain range of motion so that I can age gracefully while maintaining an independent and active life. I want to be healthy in mind, body and spirit! “


Sheryl DeStafeno-Bowe, Hyde Park – “Through the 12-week BetterU program I hope to establish a movement program that I can sustain and enjoy.  I also want healthy eating to be second nature to me, not a diet that begins and ends. These are the goals that will allow me to live spontaneously, and I am very, very grateful for this opportunity!”

Judy DiMattia, Fishkill – “Having had heart disease in my family history, I am hopeful and ready to make a difference.  It is time to Better Me! I am very excited to make lifestyle changes like eating healthier, exercising regularly and managing stress.”

Lisa Mathis, New Windsor – “I want to finally get out of the hamster wheel of dieting and fitness programs.  Always running toward goals that I have been unable to completely reach. I want a consistent, healthy weight, healthy eating habits and fitness routine!”

Candice Pennella, Poughkeepsie – “I hope to learn how to make and maintain healthier lifestyle choices while surrounded by supportive people who understand how hard those choices can be. The time has come to start putting myself first!”

Danielle Perry, Wappingers – “I am tired. I am uncomfortable. I don’t want to wait until it’s too late to turn back the clock and take off the pounds that are sticking around so easily now. I want to change my health before poor health becomes my final destination.”

Carmela Spreer, Highland – “My family has a history of heart disease, and I have high blood pressure, so I want to change my lifestyle and learn healthy habits.”

Janna Whearty, Poughkeepsie – “Last September the 47-year old wife of a friend of mine passed away from a heart attack. I hope that through this program I can get fit and establish healthy habits. I have many things I’d like to do that my present fitness level won’t let me. I want to change that.”

Elisa Gwilliam, Poughkeepsie – hopes to increase her cardio fitness, work out consistently, and increase muscle and lose fat as a result of her participation in this program.

Denise Hector, Hyde Park – “Getting back to healthy is my goal as a participant in this program.  In 2017, I firmly decided that I would not be a smoker by my 55th birthday which was July 16th, and I’m proud to say that I smoked my last cigarette on July 7th, 2017. I’m one year being smoke free!  While I believe this was a huge accomplishment for me, the extra weight I gained isn’t as easy to shed as was in the past.  This program comes at the right time!  My mind is made up and I’m ready to begin my journey for living a healthier lifestyle!”

Janine Russo, Gardiner – “I have a family history of heart disease and just got put on Lipitor for high cholesterol.  I hope to come out with the knowledge how to be healthier.  I want to lose weight with healthy eating and exercise.  I want to make a life change.”


American Heart Announces New Westchester Board Members

Dr. Icilma Fergus

Virginia Kuper

The American Heart Association (AHA) announced local leaders serving on its Westchester County Board of Directors. Leading the volunteer board are Board Chairperson, Virginia Kuper, Senior Vice President of Key Bank, and Board President, Icilma V. Fergus, MD, FACC, Associate Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

“We are so grateful to have the support of so many exceptional leaders from the local health and business communities. They will help the American Heart Association to achieve our mission of building healthier lives and a healthier community in Westchester County,” said Jennifer Miller, AHA Senior Regional Director in Westchester.

Members of the AHA Westchester Board of Directors at their July gathering.

Kuper and Fergus will serve three-year terms. AHA Westchester County board members include: Dr. Sherlita Amler, Commissioner of Health, Westchester County Government; Daniel Blum, President and CEO of Phelps Memorial Hospital Center; Dr. Carolin Dohl, Associate Director, Stroke Rehabilitation, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital; Dr. Avi Fischer, Divisional Vice President & Medical Director, Abbott; Michael Gewitz, MD, William Russell McCurdy Physician-in-Chief, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital; Joseph Giamelli, MD, Pediatric Cardiologist, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital; Damara Gutnick, MD, Medical Director of Montefiore Hudson Valley Collaborative; Merin Joseph, WESTMED Exec. Vice Pres. & Chief Information Officer with Practice Partners; Howard Klein, CPA, MS, Partner at Citrin Cooperman; Dr. Sophia McIntyre, Chief Medical Officer Hudson River Healthcare, Inc.; Donna Montalto, Chief of Staff, CareMount Medical; Michael Prutting, Vice President Human Resources, IT & Travel, FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation; Stephanie Weston, Vice President, Retail Market Manager, The Westchester Bank; Dr. Daniel Zedeker, DDS Office, Private Practice; and N. Theodore Zink, Jr., Financial Professional Associate, The Prudential Insurance Company of America.

Board members will lead American Heart Association health initiatives and support development priorities to drive AHA health goals in the Westchester Region. The Westchester Heart Walk is set for Saturday, September 29th at Kensico Dam in Valhalla. To register, visit

The AHA’s impact goal is, by 2020, to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent. The Board’s newly formed Community Action Committee will focus their efforts on local health issues like healthy food access, food insecurity, and advocacy priorities in the market. AHA advocated for Tobacco 21 legislation signed into law in Westchester in June, which prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21.

For more information about the American Heart Association in your community, visit or email or call Jennifer Miller at or 914-806-0962.

By |July 16th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Rethink Your Drink This Summer

America is in the midst of an obesity epidemic. Currently, 69% of U.S. adults are overweight while more than one third (35%) are obese. Children are not untouched by this frightening reality as 32% are overweight, 17% of whom are obese.

The American Heart Association supports a multipronged approach to address this problem including creating and implementing policies designed to improve access to affordable, nutritious foods and beverages, thereby making it easier for Americans to choose healthier foods consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. One of these approaches is to reduce the consumption of sugary beverages among Americans, especially children.

“Sugary drinks are the single largest source of calories in the American diet. The average American consumes the equivalent of 39 pounds of sugar each year from sugary drinks,” said Dr. Patrick Thomas, physician with NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Group Hudson Valley Cardiology, Chief of Cardiology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, and the Board President of the Putnam County America Heart Association. NewYork Presbyterian is the AHA’s official “Rethink Your Drink” local sponsor for the Westchester Heart Walk, set for Saturday, September 29th at Kensico Dam. Register your team online at

“We join with the American Heart Association to encourage Americans to Rethink Your Drink and choose water or low-calories options over the high-calories sugary drinks. Take time to consider all the beverages you consume in a day. You may be getting some extra, unneeded calories through sodas, ice teas, energy and coffee drinks. Make the healthy choice the default choice for your beverages to cut back on sugar and calories,” said Dr. Thomas.

Some research suggests that when you drink calories, you aren’t as satisfied compared to eating the same amount of calories in solid food. The American Heart Association offers these tips on how to switch to healthier drinks that can quench your thirst but still taste good.

Read those ingredients – Beverages, like energy drinks, can be deceiving because they advertise that they are healthy but usually are loaded with calories and sugar. Common forms of added sugars are sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, corn syrups, concentrated fruit juice and honey. Also, look at the label carefully because one container may be considered more than one serving, which can double or triple your sugar consumption.

Cut back slowly – If you have sugary drinks like sodas and sweetened teas on a regular basis, start cutting back now. Replace those drinks with the water suggestions next.

Work up to water – We often hear we should drink water every day, but that can seem like a challenge if you aren’t a big fan. Try carrying a refillable water bottle or have a permanent glass at your office desk. Add slices of oranges, lemons or even cucumbers for an added boost of flavor. Try seltzers or sparking water with a splash of 100% fruit juice.

Try Our Fresh-Fruit “Sangria” Recipe!

Join the juicing trend –You may have seen infomercials for juicers or read articles about the benefits of making and drinking your own fruit and vegetable juices. These homemade juices can be OK – up to a point. First, it’s always better to eat produce instead of drinking it as you get fiber from the skin and pulp that can be strained out by a juicer. It’s easy for the calories in fruit juice to add up without even noticing.

Sip a smoothie – When you are in the mood for a milkshake or want an afternoon snack, keep on the heart healthy track with a budget-friendly homemade fruit smoothie! Blend ½ cup frozen fruit with no added sugars, ½ cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt with no added sugars and ½ cup low-fat milk. If you don’t have a blender, mix small pieces of fresh fruit with yogurt and milk, then freeze for an hour. Experiment with different fruit combinations like mango-pineapple or strawberry-blueberry. Ask for skim or low-fat milk in your favorite coffee drinks. Add your own sweetener to control added sugars.

Learn more at

By |July 3rd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Women Encouraged to Apply for BetterU Challenge to Prevent Heart Disease

The American Heart Association invites local women to apply for the 8th Annual BetterU Challenge, sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation. The 12-week program, starting July 27th, is designed to improve cardiovascular health through simple lifestyle changes and prevent heart disease—women’s number one killer. The program is part of the Go Red For Women Luncheon, which is set for Thursday, November 9th at the Grandview in Poughkeepsie.

Applications are being accepted now through June 29h to be one of the twelve women participants. Download the application from the BetterU tab at

BetterU is a free health, nutrition and fitness program that can help all women make better lifestyle choices. Each week focuses on a different area of heart health and provides step-by-step guidance to help women transform their overall health through small lifestyle changes.

The 12 women selected for the program will receive a three-month membership and personal training at Gold’s Gym, medical evaluation from Health Quest Medical Practice, and free health seminars from local health experts. The BetterU participants will chronicle their journey on a special blog, and be celebrated at the annual Go Red for Women luncheon on November 9th.

“Central Hudson is proud to support the 8th annual BetterU Challenge for women. Heart disease is still the number one killer of women but prevention through simple lifestyle changes can save women’s lives,” said Denise Doring VanBuren, Vice President of Public Relations at Central Hudson, “We are excited about helping more women to live healthier lives to prevent women’s number one killer—heart disease.”

Heart disease and stroke takes the life of one in three women — almost one woman every minute. More women than men die of heart disease and stroke. Research shows that 80 percent of cardiac events in women are preventable with simple lifestyle choices involving diet, exercise and avoiding smoking. But less than 20% of women meet the Federal Physical Activity Guidelines. About 45% of women in America age 20 or older have total cholesterol of 200 mg/dl or higher, and approximately 30% of women in American have high blood pressure.

Despite these facts, only 17% of women consider heart disease or stroke to be the greatest health problem facing Americans today. Go Red For Women’s BetterU Challenge aims to raise awareness and provide women with the tools to prevent and survive heart disease and stroke.

To download an application, deadline June 26th, visit

For more information, contact Danielle Schuka at 845-867-5379 or email

BetterU is sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, Gold’s Gym, Heath Quest Medical Practice and Q92 Radio. Go Red For Women is sponsored national by Macy’s and CVS Health, and locally by The Heart Center | Vassar Brothers Medical, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, and The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel and Conference Center.



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By |June 20th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |0 Comments

CPR and AED Awareness Week — Learn Hands-Only CPR to be ready in a cardiac emergency

National CPR and AED Awareness Week, June 1– 7, aims to raise awareness and increase the number of people who perform CPR in cardiac arrest emergencies. Each year, more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States. About 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die. That’s why the American Heart Association – the world’s leading voluntary organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke – is highlighting the importance of bystander CPR. The AHA sets the guidelines for CPR used in the United States and worldwide.

Fieldstone Middle School students practice the steps they learned to save a life using Hands-Only CPR

When a person has a cardiac arrest, survival depends on immediately receiving CPR from someone nearby.  CPR, especially if performed immediately, can triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival. Higher bystander CPR rates have been linked to greater survival rates after a cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops beating, or beats irregularly, not able to pump enough blood for survival.

Only about 46 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive the immediate help that they need before professional help arrives. Many Americans don’t perform CPR because they don’t know what to do or they are afraid of hurting the person. To help increase the likelihood of people performing CPR in an emergency, the Association recommends Hands-Only CPR, which has two easy steps. Step 1: Call 911. Step 2: Push hard and fast in the center of the chest until help arrives. Take 90 seconds to learn how to save a life at

In the Hudson Valley, Active International is a Hands-Only CPR School Kit sponsor to help schools satisfy the state education requirement for the training for students prior to graduation. Students at Fieldstone Middle School in Thiels used the donated kit to learn Hands-Only CPR during their health course on June 6th. Students took turns performing chest compressions on mannequins to the beat of “Staying Alive.” The skill can be taught in one class period. It is training that will stay with them through adulthood ready if they ever encounter a cardiac emergency.

Hands-Only CPR kit donated by Active International to Fieldstone Middle School

Alice Schoen of Rye Brook knows the importance of bystander CPR. Her son Jordan collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest during a Blind Brook High School basketball game in December. He was saved with bystander CPR performed by a family friend—a doctor–sitting the stands, school athletic personnel, police, and eventually EMS workers. The team of rescuers used CPR and an automatic external defibrillator to resuscitate Jordan and save his life.

His mother realized the incredible luck and timing that helped save her son’s life. There assembled in that moment of chaos a doctor, police, trained athletic personnel, EMS—all professionally trained in CPR, all ready and trained to save a life. But she didn’t want to leave the next cardiac arrest victim’s life to be left to chance. “Tragedy can strike when you’re not prepared. I wanted to take the chance out of it,” said Schoen.

Fieldstone Middle School students learned Hands-Only CPR during CPR & AED Awareness Week

She went with Jordan to the Rye Brook Village Administrator to discuss CPR training for youth sport coaches and AED’s for the village parks. In May, after a dedicated effort of research and collaboration for the greater good, by the Village Administrator, local EMS, the recreation department and local police, the Village’s Cardiac Emergency Response Plan was created and adopted. The 10-page document defines cardiac arrest and the municipality’s response plan to help be prepared for this medical emergency. It includes AED locations, CPR instructions and training requirements for the coaches in the recreation leagues, including Little League.

“EMS and recreation staff put training programs together for coaches and set up classes. Little league coaching volunteers were given dates and village paid for the training,” she said. They also reviewed availability, access and signage for AED’s at the parks, “From Jordan’s experience, we came together as a community to get a fresh look at safety and being prepared to save a life.”

In 2009, the American Heart Association launched a nationwide Hands-Only CPR campaign to raise awareness about this life-saving skill. The campaign is supported nationally by an educational grant from the Anthem Foundation. Since 2012, nearly 10.1 million people have been trained in Hands-Only CPR via events, training kiosks and video education with the Anthem Foundation’s support. Starting in 2017, the American Heart Association partnered with leading organizations in the field of cardiac arrest to form the National Cardiac Arrest Collaborative, with the goal of promoting how to help in a cardiac arrest emergency.

 Additional Resources:

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 About American Heart Association CPR

As the world leader in CPR, first aid and emergency cardiovascular care (ECC) training and education, the American Heart Association offers a variety of options for you to find a course (opens new window) and learn lifesaving skills. Locate a local training center to become an AHA Instructor or to choose courses for family members and friends, employees, or healthcare providers.



Heart Association urges Westchester County to raise age for tobacco, nicotine purchases to 21

Studies show the higher age will reduce the number of first-time, young smokers

This week, Westchester County will vote on raising the the age to purchase cigarettes, tobacco products, liquid nicotine, or electronic cigarettes to 21. The American Heart Association strongly supports this proposal.

 The law would prohibit the sale of cigarettes, tobacco products, liquid nicotine, or electronic cigarettes to minors and young adults under the age of 21.

“It’s imperative that we raise the age to purchase tobacco, tobacco and nicotine products to 21,” said Caitlin O’Brien, New York State government relations director for the American Heart Association, “We hope the county executive signs the bill without delay.”

“Studies have shown that raising the tobacco sale age to 21 will significantly reduce the number of teens and young adults who start smoking,” O’Brien said. “It will also reduce smoking-caused deaths.”

Smoking is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the No. 1 and No. 5 causes of death in the United States. More than half a million people in New York have a disease caused by smoking, resulting in about $8.17 billion in health care expenditures annually. An estimated 24,500 New Yorkers die of smoking-related deaths each year, according to the AHA.

“New York continuously leads the nation in pursuit of quality tobacco control, like with our high tobacco tax and clean indoor air policies,” O’Brien said. “Westchester has an opportunity to further ensure the good health of its residents by making this deadly habit unavailable to our youth.”

The American Heart Association invites members of the community support voice support of this legislation and other health policies to by joining