Smokers were asked to kick the habit Thursday as part of the 37th annual Great American Smokeout. YNN's Mark Goshgarian tells us about the effort in the Southern Tier to prevent young smokers from lighting up.
SALAMANCA, N.Y. — She's heard the warnings.
"Yes, I know them very well, smoking is very very dangerous," said Bridget Magiera, Salamanca.
She knows the risks.
"It causes birth defects, it causes lung cancer, heart disease," said Magiera.
She's lived with the reality.
"I lost my aunt to smoking, she had lung cancer, and my aunt and uncle who are still alive, they're going through cancer as well from smoking," said Magiera.
Twenty-year-old Bridget Magiera of Salamanca started smoking three years ago and goes through about a half a pack a day.
She was one of millions encouraged to quit Thursday during the 37th annual Great American Smokeout.
"Quitting smoking's really hard. It raises the importance again that the damage tobacco does here on the health in our communities, especially here in Western New York," said Laurie Adams, Tri-County Tobacco Free Program Director.
Adams joined a host of other advocates Thursday in Salamanca to help lower the rising number of young smokers in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties.
The group is also working to prevent the tobacco industry from marketing to youth.
"I think its accessible, I think its accepted, I think tobacco use is something that is peer related because we live in an environment where its so socially accepted, it's just an easy way for kids to begin down the path of tobacco addiction, nicotine addiction," said Sandra Brundage, Salamanca Youth Bureau Director.
A path Magiera says may be hard to step away from now, but knows someday she will.
"It's disgusting, it really is. When you're done smoking, you can't breathe, and I don't know why I still smoke, I really don't... so I don't plan on smoking in the future," said Magiera.