Thursday, March 21, 2013

WNY Young Writers' Studio

I attended the annual Poetry Slam at Amherst High School last week, and was once again blown away by poems the students wrote and shared. The energy in that room was intoxicating.

As I sat at the Poetry Slam thinking back to my days in school, I don’t remember being given a lot of chances to write creatively. For me, I’ve always been able to best express myself through writing; whether it be a journal I kept under my bed, writing for the school newspaper or through this and other blogs.

I asked my boyfriend (an English teacher at Amherst High School) how much creative writing is in the curriculum now, and he said very little. Sadly, the focus is on the tests. How, then, are kids supposed to find ways to express themselves and get constructive feedback on their work?

The answer, surprisingly, came to me through Twitter. I was looking at my “Who to Follow” suggestions when I came across the WNY Young Writers' Studio. Intrigued, I checked out their website and gave them a follow. A few days later, I contacted the Executive Director, Angela Stockman, and we spent some time chatting last week about the group. 

Founded in April of 2008, Angela had a vision of creating a collaborative writing community for students and teachers. A community where the teachers are also the students and the students are also the teachers. After working in the classroom as a writing teacher for years, and then running professional development workshops for teachers, she found a need for students to have the opportunity to write creatively. 

The first year brought 15 – 25 students from around Western New York together to learn what good writing is, have the chance to write, and spend time learning how to become a peer reviewer and use constructive criticism to better your writing. 

Five years later, the community is thriving, with over 75 registered students, and a growing group of dedicated teachers!

The WNY Young Writers Studio offers a year-long fellowship program to students and teachers who attend a session once a month on Saturdays and a week-long intensive in the summer. The cost to attend is $180/year for students. There is no cost for teacher fellows. If you do not have the money to pay for the class, but are interested, scholarships may be available. 

Students as young as first grade through high school can attend. Groups are split up by age; Grades 1 - 5 & Grades 6 - 12.  The focus is on creative writing. "We all learn through our experiences. We take experiences we have had and use them to guide us into great writing." Angela told me. 

"A big part of our discussion explores peer review. Students and teachers are given the skills to constructively review work. Each session ends with peer review. Writing is such overwhelming work. We don't get better in a day or two, it takes months or years. Our goal is to find ways to sustain the energy students have throughout the entire learning process so they don't get discouraged."

The 5th year of the WNY Young Writers' Studio is bringing about some changes! In April, Angela will unveil a new space that will allow the group to continue to expand and reach more in the community. In addition, they will be releasing a new catalog of workshops that will be open to writers of all ages. 

For students/adults who want to get more involved in writing, Angela says to begin to reflect on the things you enjoy. Start a daily journal and keep track of what made you smile each day. From there, ideas for writing will start flowing! 

As I spoke with Angela, I could feel and hear her passion for this program. Many students are looking for a way to express themselves, a way to deal with sadness and an avenue to share joy. Writing is such a healthy outlet that can improve self-esteem. Being able to write down your thoughts and explore your feelings can provide such a needed outlet, not only for students, but everyone. 

To register for the upcoming fellowship year, or to find out more information about the WNY Young Writers' Studio, you can contact Angela by phone at 716-418-3730 or by e-mail at I know I'll be keeping an eye out for the new catalog of workshops. I'm looking forward to finding new ways to enhance my writing and work with others who share the same passion as me!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Call For Action: Ride For Roswell 2013

The Ride For Roswell is one of Buffalo's biggest annual fundraisers. Last year, the fundraiser brought in over 3 million dollars for cancer research in the area. 

After being terrified of bikes for years following a biking accident, my boyfriend talked me into participating last year, and I had an absolute blast riding the 20 mile river route. 

It was an incredibly inspiring and emotional day for me as I rode with thousands of others who participated. Check out my review from last year's event HERE

We created a Lovin' On Buffalo team, and our four team members raised around $1200 for cancer research. This year, I've set the team up again and am now looking for team members!

If you have ever wanted to participate but were never motivated to, here is your chance! If you have been participating for years, but never on team, here is your chance!

We are looking for anyone and everyone who is willing to give up one Saturday morning/afternoon to ride in honor of someone you know who has cancer and beat it, or in memory of someone who lost their life to cancer. EVERYONE has been touched by cancer in some way, and with our help, we can get Roswell Park one step closer to finding a cure through the money we raise. 

This year's event will take place on Saturday, June 22nd at The University of Buffalo, North Campus. You can find out more information on the ride at the website

Being a member of Team Lovin' On Buffalo will get you a team t-shirt as well as a pre-race party the week of the event (these are team perks specific to Team Lovin' On Buffalo). Team members need to raise a minimum of $150 in order to be able to ride the day of the event. We can help you raise your minimum if needed!

HERE is a link to our team page. All it takes is a few minutes and a $10.00 registration fee and you will be added to our team! 

If riding is not your thing, consider making a donation to our team page (or my personal page) and cheer us on as we get closer and closer to our goal of $1500.

Thank you in advance to anyone who signs up or makes a donation. Your support is appreciated more than I can express here!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tabree On Main in Snyder

Tabree on Main has been on my "WNY Restaurant To-Do List" for a while now, but because it is a more upscale and pricey restaurant, it's been pushed down the list many times.

Last week though, we were looking for a restaurant to take my boyfriend's Mom for her birthday, and decided to splurge and treat us all to Tabree. They are also in the Buffalo Dining Cards for 2013! We chose an early time for dinner, 5pm (which is when they open), and we were the first customers to arrive. 

They are located on Main Street near Harlem Road. The small brick building can get lost in the shuffle of Main Street if you aren't looking, and parking is behind the restaurant in a lot connected to an office building. You enter the restaurant from behind.

Once inside, the restaurant is gorgeous and looks bigger than the building suggests. There is a large bar when you first walk in and then a seating area that has around 15 tables. The dark wood throughout the bar and restaurant is gorgeous and the space is very inviting and comfortable. Candles lit throughout the restaurant add to a wonderful ambiance that fills the space.

Appetizers include escargot, foie gras, scallops and more and run from $9.50 - $21.00. 
Entrees run from $19.00 - $40.00 with amazing French inspired dishes including chicken, duck, seafood, beef and pasta entrees. They also have a very large wine menu with glasses running from $6 and up. 

I was excited when each of us chose something different to try! For an appetizer, my boyfriend and I split the fried eggplant ($9.50). The eggplant was surrounded by goat cheese a tomato confit and herb pesto. The combination of flavors was outstanding and since I'm a huge goat cheese fan, was excited by the amount of cheese they included on the plate. It didn't take away from the eggplant at all, and all the flavors came through. 

My boyfriend's Mom started with the classic Caesar salad ($8.50). It came out as a wedge salad with a generous portion of Romaine lettuce topped with homemade croutons, anchovy, egg and their Caesar dressing. The dressing was very subtle and did not overpower like some Casear dressings can. The croutons were lightly seasoned and tasty. There was a considerable amount of egg on the salad, and I felt it took away from the dish because all you could taste was the egg.

My dinner entree selection was the Coq Au Vin ($26.00). It was two pieces of braised chicken, roasted root vegetables and spaetzle in a red wine sauce. From the first bite, to the last attempt to get a little more chicken off the bone, the dish was fantastic. The red wine sauce had an intoxicating smell to it and the chicken was cooked perfectly. The vegetables offered a nice mixture of crunch and sweetness to the dish and the spaetzle enhanced it even more. If I didn't think someone would notice, I would have licked the plate clean!
Coq Au Vin
My boyfriend chose the Braised Beef dish ($28.00). The beef sat on a bed of cheddar grits, carottes Vichy and was surrounded by a bordelaise sauce. The combination of the beef and the grits was great and while I only sampled a little myself, there were numerous "mmm's" from my boyfriend. The beef was cooked well and packed full of flavor. I'm a huge fan of grits and these did not disappoint. 

Braised Beef

The final entree selection was the Steak Au Poivne ($38.95). This 12 oz. NY Strip steak was served with frites. My boyfriend's Mom hasn't had a steak in over five years, and if she was going to wait that long to have one again, this is the one to do it with. The giant piece of meat was cooked perfectly and was absolutely delicious. The frites were crispy and some of the best frites I've had locally. 

Steak Au Poivne

Tabree on Main has it all. They combine the look, the feel and the taste into one incredible dining experience. You have a handful of great upscale options in Western New York for special nights out, but Tabree should be your next stop! They are open Monday - Saturday starting at 5:00pm. They are well worth the cost, and will give you a wonderful night out with those you love! 

Want the proof? Check out our plates at the end of our meal! 

For more reviews on Tabree, check out:  Tabree on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Book review: City Of Light by Lauren Belfer

When I thought about starting a Buffalo book club, I asked anyone who would answer what books we should read. The book that was mentioned most often was Lauren Belfer's "City Of Light". The plot sounded intriguing and I heard so many good things, so I chose it as our first book to read.

City of Light takes place in Buffalo in 1901. The city is booming, planning to host The Pan American Exposition and working on creating mass electricity through Niagara Falls. The story focuses around the life of Louisa Barrett (headmistress of The McCauley School which is based on Buffalo Seminary), who tells the story from her point of view. 

Throughout the book, Louisa is put in the position to keep secrets, cover up scandals and all the while keeping an eye on her goddaughter, Grace. While the plot is heavily focused on Louisa's daily life and the people she encounters along the way, the city of Buffalo is my favorite character in the book. Her expressive writing made it easy to feel like I was taken back in time to Buffalo's glory days, and I often found myself looking at maps of the Pan Am grounds and flipping through picture books of the time period. 

When I was reading the book, I was also taking a docent class in Buffalo and we were learning a lot about the Pan Am Exposition. It couldn't have been a more perfect time to combine the two. Belfer obviously took a long time to research the book (it took her about six years) and she so flawlessly incorporated buildings, people and streets into her writing. 

The actual plot of the book kept me turning the pages and left me feeling happy, sad, angry and disheartened at the same time. There were a few parts of the book that I found difficult to read (not because of the writing but because of the plot), revelations that surprised me and characters I grew to love and hate. The ending of the book came as a shock to me and was incredibly sad. I absolutely loved how Belfer tied up some loose ends at the end and gave us a look into the future in her final few pages. 

Whether you love Buffalo or not, this is a wonderful novel to read. It will keep you thinking, offer some surprises along the way and leave you wondering more about Buffalo in its glory days. If you do love Buffalo, it's a must read. 

Check out some other reviews from our Lovin' On Buffalo Book Club members:

"City of Light is an adventurous walk through Buffalo at the height of its glory days. The City itself, The Pan Am Exposition, and some well-known historical figures are major "characters". I loved it!" - Suzanne Kashuba

"The book takes Buffalo's shining moments leading up to The Pan An Exposition and casts a darker view on the people and events of the powerful." - Casey Herko

"City of Light is a powerful book that relates the story of a strong woman who finds herself involved in the intrigue of the beginning of the creation of electricity at the turn of the century. The city of Buffalo is a major character." - Debbi Testa

"I couldn't put this book down! Enthralling story filled with historical gems and references." - Amanda Clute

"City of Light was romance, mystery, suspense and history intertwined into a well written story of life in Buffalo, NY in the early 1900's." - Angela Cooke

"City of Light captures the mystery, power and grace of Buffalo during 1901." - Angela Keppel

"Thrilling & mysterious! You don't want to put it down - except to Google places in Buffalo that she writes about." - Angela Stefano

Check out book club member Zandria's book review HERE.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Niagara Escarpment Wineries - Winter 2013

My boyfriend and I make a point to get up to Canada, just over the border along the Niagara Escarpment, to check out the Niagara Ice Wine Festival each winter. 

This year, while we sampled some ice wines, we focused on checking out as many "new to us" wineries we could, and sampled everything! We found some incredible wineries, met some wonderful people and had great conversation about food and wine. 

I'm not even close to a wine critic, but I'll give you my take on flavors and taste. I won't go through all the color, clarity, complexity, balance and finish notes, but will mention what we liked so you can sample them when you get a chance. As a point of reference, I gravitate towards white wines and my boyfriend is a fan of reds. In the time we have been dating though, almost three years, we've come to appreciate the opposite and my palate is beginning to change. One thing we can agree on, we both love Rieslings, so much of what we buy are Rieslings.

My reviews below are also about the overall atmosphere and experience at each, which is almost as important to me as the wines. Enjoy! 

Legends Estate Winery: We started off our day at Legends Estate Winery. They are situated right near the water, and even though it was a cold day out, the sun was shining so we walked around the grounds. The location is beautiful and a gazebo situated right near the water makes it a great spot for summer visits. 

The winery itself is a small space with one tasting area. There was one other couple wrapping up a tasting when we arrived so we looked around as they paid and then began our tasting. Most of the wines we tasted we good and we settled on a bottle of Truth & Dare (one white, one red). The packaging of the bottles was fun (see bottom picture of all the wines)- Truth is green, Dare is red). I'm not a huge fan of reds, but I enjoyed this one. The girl taking care of us was pleasant and asked if we were from Buffalo because of our accent. We just laughed.

Good start to our day! 

The Good Earth Food & Wine Company: Our second stop of the day was to The Good Earth Food & Wine Company, and from the moment we pulled up the driveway, I was in love. The grounds house a few different buildings. One building serves as a cooking school, and the other (pictured below) is the winery and a restaurant. The tasting room is small, but absolutely beautiful. As opposed to many typical tasting areas that are set up as a bar, the tasting room has small circular tables with a hole in the middle for the chilled wine to sit. The owner of the winery greeted us and did our tasting herself. She could tell we enjoyed wine, so we sampled everything. They had two Rieslings to sample and we were told people were split down the middle on which they preferred. For us, it was the 2010 (I didn't care for the 2009 at all). The best wine there, and my favorite wine of the day, was the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc. Wow. It is the perfect summer night wine with a very crisp flavor that went down a little too easily. We are planning on building a fire pit in our backyard this year. This wine will be perfect for our first night enjoying it! Absolutely outstanding.

The wines are priced a little higher than other wineries in the area, but they were worth it, the tasting alone was outstanding, and I'm already kicking myself for not buying more than one bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc.

We didn't eat in the restaurant, but the menu looked fantastic and they have pre-fixe menus throughout the year that we will definitely go back for. The cooking classes seemed pricey (most of the classes you just watch, and they are not hands on), but from what we heard, they are extremely popular there. 

This winery alone is worth the drive over the border! Make it a "must" stop next time you get to Canada! 

Vineland Estates WineryWe are not strangers to Vineland, it is our favorite place to visit every year, and the only repeat winery we visited. Unlike most years we have gone, the tasting room was not very busy and our favorite wine expert, Joe, was not there. While the girl who took care of our tasting sort of rushed us through it, it was great to get back there and sample some of our favorite wines again. We ended up walking out of there with four bottles of wine; 2 bottles of the 2011 St. Urban Elevation, 1 bottle of the 2010 Semi Dry Riesling (one of my all-time favorites), and a bottle of the 2011 dry Riesling which we sampled for the first time. For a drier Riesling, I thought it was fantastic (and I'm more of a semi dry girl). The flavors were crisp and I really enjoyed the finish. 

Vineland is an absolutely gorgeous estate with a restaurant housed in a separate building as well as a small chapel for weddings. The tasting room is large and they have a nice storefront area with all the wines and accessories.  If you go upstairs they have a small cheese shop which is wonderful!

Thirty Bench Wine Makers: From the outside, Thirty Bench Wine Makers has a very rustic feel to it. On the inside the space boasts big windows that overlook a gorgeous estate and wood throughout. In addition to the tasting bar, they have a VIP tasting area with small stations for you to get a more in depth tasting. The storefront area is small, but they have very cool handmade wood serving dishes, trivets and more.

We mostly focused on the white wines here and enjoyed the flight of Rieslings. They have three different Rieslings (all prepared different ways), and then a mix of the three. As we sampled each of the three, we really enjoyed the 2011 Small Lot Riesling. In addition, the 30 Bench Riesling (the mixture of the three) was great and really produced the flavor that I thought was lacking in the other two. The mix was a lot cheaper than the individual ones, but we wanted a little of each to take home. 

We found this winery on a whim, just noticed it as we were driving down the street and decided to stop. I'm glad we did! 


Megalomanic Winery: When we were looking for this winery, we almost missed it. It's hidden, basically underground with just a small, hill-like structure sticking out. There is a long winding road to get to it, but once we were inside we were amazed. The space is incredible! When you walk in, you are at the storefront, a small area with all the wines for sale and a cash register. The tasting room itself is huge, although tastings are only done at one small bar area. The tasting room is also where the wine is made, and stored and there are barrels throughout the space and the fermentation tanks used to make the wine. There are beautiful chandeliers throughout the space and a nice running waterfall in one area. 

The wines were outstanding! We walked away with a bottle of the 2011 Narcissist Riesling and the 2011 Homegrown Riesling. Each had very different distinct flavors that, from start to finish, were a treat for my palate. They also had a fantastic Riesling ice wine, and I've always been partial to Vineland's, but this one was better. Next time we get up there, I'm definitely going to splurge on a bottle! 

Ridegepoint Wines: When I started putting this blog together, I forgot we even went to this winery...that's how memorable it was. From the moment we walked in the tasting room, I felt like I was being talked down to, and rushed through everything. This winery was the only place we had to actually pay for the tastings (most will waive it if you buy a bottle), and the lady who took care of us was not pleasant or helpful. The only positive from this winery, I did find a red wine I enjoyed; the 2011 Cabernet Merlot. While it was on the drier side, I found it full of flavor. I am looking forward to enjoying a nice steak with it this summer.  

Rosewood Estates Winery: Rosewood is a fun winery, with a beautiful tasting room. The winery is also home to many beehives, and in addition to more typical types of wine you see, they produce a wine called mead (which is wine made with honey). I loved the layout of how the store was set up - all the wines were in wood containers that were shaped to look like a honeycomb. Throughout the winery they had cute wine quotes and the grounds outside were beautiful as well.

The lady who took care of us was so personable and gave us a good history of the winery and mead. We tried many different wines and they were all good. We both absolutely loved the 2011 Mima's Block Riesling. We were excited to try the Mead wine and really enjoyed it. It definitely has a very different flavor than other wines and the honey and fruit flavors in the 2008 Mead Royale were great. It is sweet, and usually served as a dessert wine. We also purchased some honey (in an adorable bear glass jar) and the cutest little honey dipper. We've since tried the honey and it is absolutely fantastic! 

Sue Ann Staff Estate Winery: This winery was our last stop of the day, and as far as the overall "experience" goes, this was our favorite winery of the day (and after the great time we had at Good Earth, I thought it was impossible to top).

The winery is also the home of the owner, Sue Ann Staff. She purchased the estate from her ancestors and renovated it, although many original features are still noticeable throughout the home. 

The tasting room is her kitchen. Her actual kitchen that she cooks in! It has a very modern feel to it and is very inviting and comfortable. The lady working that afternoon was so full of knowledge and we spent a long time talking with her about the wines. Unlike the other wineries of the day, there was absolutely no wine we tried here that I didn't like. Everything was fabulous. The wines are priced a little higher than most, but they were truly outstanding. We left with a bottle of the 2011 Riesling Baco Noir (a combination I didn't think I'd like, but LOVED), 2011 Riesling, and the 2010 Baco Noir. 

After our tasting was complete, the lady working showed us around the lower floor of the house and it's beautiful! What a location. 

Our Sunday along the Escarpment was absolutely wonderful. It is one of the best day trips for wine lovers in the Buffalo area (and beyond). There are many limo/bus packages offered from various companies that would be a perfect way to explore with friends, family or for a special event. Check out my blog on The Ice Wine Festival from last year for more ideas of places to go! 

Many people have asked me why I haven't blogged about the wineries in Niagara County yet, while I've mentioned Niagara on the Lake a few times. To be honest, I have been to the Niagara County wineries a handful of times, but have only fallen in love with a few. Maybe it is because Niagara On The Lake has soooo many to choose from, that I gravitate towards there, but I honestly think the quality of the wine, and the location, makes them better overall. This summer though, I'm planning on getting back up to the wineries in Niagara County, and will blog about them! 

Our haul for the day: 18 bottles of wine and some honey!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Kyoto Japanese Restaurant In Amherst

The last time my boyfriend and I had dinner at Kyoto Japanese Restaurant (located on Maple Road in Amherst), we both realized I hadn't blogged about them yet. I've been going to the restaurant for years. It's been the restaurant for family get togethers and holiday parties as well as date nights and evenings out with friends to catch up. In fact, I took my boyfriend there early on in our relationship, and paid for the meal (I'm a catch). 

The restaurant is laid out in two areas; there are tables for regular dining and there are a handful of hibachi grills with about 10 chairs around each one. I've dined in both and it all just depended on my mood that evening or who I was with. 

The hibachi meals include soup (a broth with mushrooms, scallions and onion), salad (with the best ginger dressing in the world on it), a shrimp appetizer, your choice of meat, vegetables and then your choice of noodles or rice. They typically cost between $16 - $30+ dollars depending on what you choose (you can get vegetable, lobster, scallops, chicken, shrimp, salmon, strip steak, filet mignon or combinations of them). If you have never been to a hibachi restaurant before, the meal is cooked in front of you and your chef puts on a fun show as he prepares it. Every hibachi meal I've had has been delicious, and extremely filling and well worth the cost. It is a great place to take a group of people to enjoy a fun night out.

There are a few other hibachi restaurants in town, but I have found this one to be the best price and very good quality. Shogun on Transit is probably the most popular place, but the meals there are a bit more expensive. 

If you are looking for a more intimate experience, I'd suggest sitting at one of the regular dining tables. The restaurant has a very modern feel to it and is trendy without being pretentious. It is a very inviting space to enjoy a meal. All the tables are situated as booths and it gives a more private feel to the meal. The dining tables are situated away from the hibachi grills, so you aren't overwhelmed by the commotion of the hibachi show. 
They have a full menu of starters, salads, sushi rolls and entrees. 

We almost always start the meal with the gyoza, which are pan fried pork dumplings. They come with a delicious dumpling sauce to dip them in and are always crispy and full of flavor (picture to left).
When it comes to the kitchen entrees they offer, I've had most of the udon/soba items on the menu. My favorite is the yaki udon with chicken (pictured below). The udon noodles are always cooked perfectly and the chicken is tender and full of flavor. 

My boyfriend and I love to share meals, so we typically order the gyoza, an entree to share and a few sushi rolls. The sushi here is among some of the best I've had locally. The last time we were there we ordered the shrimp tempura roll (my favorite roll to order at Kyoto), the California roll and the Futo Maki roll (pictured below). 

Kyoto Japanese Restaurant is locally owned and offers a VIP dining card and has daily happy hour specials from 3:00pm - 5:30pm that includes $2 California rolls and $3 drafts, well drinks and cosmos. They are open for lunch and dinner every day of the week starting at 11:30am and are open until at least 10:00pm (closing later on Friday/Saturday). Check out the website for a $5 off coupon (scrolling at the bottom of the page), and get there soon! 

Yaki udon with chicken

Shrimp tempura, Futo Maki and California sushi rolls

Check out more reviews for Kyoto here:  Kyoto Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Tobacco Cessation Center of WNY

The Tobacco Cessation Center of Western New York is one of many agencies that is in danger of funding cuts in Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget this year. 

The Tobacco Cessation Center of WNY has been serving Erie, Niagara, Genessee and Orleans counties since 2005. They provide training to healthcare providers so they can talk to and treat patients who are thinking about quitting smoking. Staff members will come right to your office to provide the training and the materials you need. Beyond that, The Tobacco Cessation Center of WNY offers workshops, support groups and other outreach to the community to help smokers quit and stay smoke free.

“There is help and resources out there for people who are trying to quit smoking. Many people forget they can talk to their doctor about it. That is the best place to start.” – Staff member, Heather Bashaw told me.

The NY State Smokers Quitline (1-866-NY-QUITS) is a free service to everyone in the state that can offer support and potentially free supplies of patches to help smokers quit. Some insurance providers will also pay for the patches so if you are thinking about quitting, contact your insurance company & contact your health provider as starting points.

As I met with Heather at the Tobacco Cessation Center of WNY offices (located on the Roswell Park campus), it became even more apparent to me how important small, grassroots organizations like The Tobacco Cessation Center of WNY are to our community. When trying to quit smoking, it is incredibly hard to quit cold turkey. In fact, only 7% of people who try to quit cold turkey actually end up quitting. By getting a health care professional involved, the number jumps to 30%!

Heather told me that the WNY healthcare community has been very receptive to the programs and services offered by The Tobacco Cessation Center of WNY. Currently, doctors, nurse practitioners, dentists and dental hygienists are receiving continuing education credits for participating in the trainings. The materials provided make it easy for healthcare professionals to talk to their clients about quitting. “In an initial three to five minute talk with patients, doctors can incredibly increase the chances of getting them to quit smoking.”

You can check out a You Tube video from the organization, HERE

Here are some overwhelming statistics on smoking:

* Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in NYS. In 2012, over 25,000 died prematurely because of tobacco use.

* Smoking is responsible for over 400,000 deaths in the US each year and costs the healthcare industry $193 billion annually.

* Poor smokers spend ¼ of their household income on cigarettes.

* The smoking rate in Erie County is 26.7%. It is highest in Orleans County at 29.9%. The smoking rate in all of NYS is 17%. (Western New York has some work to do in getting those numbers down!)

* The top three preventable causes of death: 1) Smoking, 2) Obesity, 3) Second hand smoke

(Statistics courtesy of The Tobacco Cessation Center Of WNY)

The Tobacco Cessation Center of WNY is an organization that helps everyone in New York State. Whether you smoke, or not, everyone is affected by tobacco use. Second and third hand smoke are increasing the numbers of those affected by tobacco, and without these organizations in place to help reduce the number of smokers, our air quality and overall health will continue to be negatively affected. 

CALL FOR ACTION: As the finalized budget date gets closer, I urge you to contact your local legislators and tell them how important The Tobacco Cessation Center of WNY is to the area. Investing in tobacco control NOW will ultimately save money in the long run AND save lives! As it stands right now, New York State is only spending 17.5% of what the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) recommends be spent. 17.5%!!! No wonder people have such a hard time quitting! If you would like more information on the "State of Tobacco Control", check out New York's annual grades, posted by The American Lung Assocation, HERE.

If you are a smoker, reach out and get the help to quit. You can do it! The resources are available to help you make a life changing decision. It will not only save your life, but improve the lives of those around you. 

“If people don’t smoke, it’s basically creating a vaccine of sorts for cancer.” – Heather told me. She couldn’t be more right!