Smoking Ban Helps NYC Stop Smoking

Adult Smoking Down 19% in New York City in Wake of Quit-Smoking Efforts

By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

June 21, 2007 -- New smoking statistics show what a difference one city can make in a few years in quitting smoking.

As of last year, New York City had 19% fewer adult smokers than it did in 2002, according to a study published today in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

That translates to 240,000 fewer adult smokers among New York City residents -- and perhaps 80,000 lives saved over time.

"Since one-third of smokers die from a smoking-related disease, when 240,000 people quit, we prevent 80,000 smoking-related deaths," writes Sara Markt, deputy press secretary for New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in an email to WebMD.

Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., notes the CDC.

New York's Antismoking Efforts

The CDC points out three ways New York City targeted smoking.

In 2002, the city raised its tax on cigarettes a few months after New York state hiked cigarette taxes. That made cigarettes more expensive.

In 2003, the city implemented a smoke-free workplace law covering virtually all indoor workplaces, including restaurants and bars.

Those two steps cut New York City's adult smoking rate for the first time in a decade. From 2002 to 2004, the city's estimated adult smoking prevalence fell from 21.5% to 18.4%.

But that trend leveled off in 2005. So New York launched a quit-smoking media campaign in 2006.

In 2006, New York City's overall adult smoking rate didn't change. But smoking decreased among men and Hispanics.

Young adults aged 18-24 had the city's biggest drop in smoking -- 35% -- from 2002 to 2006.

Smoking data came from annual surveys, conducted by telephone, of about 10,000 adults living in New York City.

Tips to Quit Smoking

No matter where you live, it's possible (and worthwhile) to quit smoking. Here are 14 tips from the CDC on smoking cessation:

  • Set a quit date.

  • Get rid of all cigarettes and ashtrays at home, work, and in your car.

  • Don't let people smoke in your home.

  • If you've tried to quit before, review those attempts. What worked and what didn't?

  • Once you quit, don't smoke at all.

  • Ask your family, friends, and co-workers for encouragement.

  • Talk to your doctor or other health care provider.

  • Get counseling to help you quit smoking. The CDC notes that telephone counseling is available at (800) QUIT-NOW.

  • Try to distract yourself from urges to smoke.

  • Do something to reduce your stress.

  • Plan something enjoyable to do daily.

  • Interested in quit-smoking medications? Ask your health care provider about them.

  • Be prepared for situations where you may be tempted to smoke.

  • If you start smoking again, don't give up. Most people try several times before they quit smoking for good.

SOURCES: CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 22, 2007; vol 56: pp 604-608. Email from Sara Markt, deputy press secretary, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. CDC: "You Can Quit Smoking: Five Tips for Quitting Smoking." News release, CDC.

© 2007 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.


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