This month, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released data from the 2013 Community Health Survey, revealing NYC adult smoking rates have increased to 16.1%. This is a substantial increase from the historic low rate of 14% in 2010, which occurred after a variety of tobacco prevention and control initiatives (expansion of the smoke-free air act, new public health campaigns, and price increases) were implemented.
Tobacco is still the #1 cause of preventable death in the United States – and in New York City; yet, since 2009, resources for tobacco control in New York State have been cut by half. New York State currently spends less than 20% of the amount recommended by the CDC for tobacco prevention. At the same time, the tobacco industry’s spending for advertising and promotion has reportedly increased to $8.8 billion nationwide, with $213.5 million spent in New York State. We know that constant bombardment of tobacco marketing makes it difficult for current smokers to quit and thwarts progress to de-normalize tobacco use.
Despite the fact that adult smoking rates in NYC remain lower than the national average, it is abundantly clear that we have our work cut out for us, and no one action will work alone. The rising smoking rates are a harsh reminder of our fight against predatory practices of an industry whose products kill millions of people every year. In order to change social norms on tobacco use, only a sustained comprehensive approach to tobacco control can effectively make a difference.
Our guest blogger is Harlan Juster, PhD.,Director, Bureau of Tobacco Control, New York State Department of Health.
Welcome from Albany.
Recently, New York City made great progress moving tobacco control forward becoming the most significant community in the nation to place restrictions on discounts and coupons for tobacco products and setting a significant “price floor.” These restrictions combine to offset the tobacco industry’s strategy of undermining high prices for tobacco products, one of the most powerful interventions we have in tobacco control. While the tobacco industry initially sued the city, the new law was upheld and the industry chose not to appeal the outcome. Thus, restrictions on coupons and discounts went into effect on August 1st while the price floor regulation was not challenged and went into effect earlier in the year.
This is a very positive outcome for New York City and for tobacco control in general. It bodes well for our state which has the highest tax in the nation, comprehensive clean indoor air legislation, and an evidence-based tobacco control program. Point of sale policy initiatives, like those passed in New York City are the next logical step as we continue to push hard to reduce the influence of the tobacco industry on youth initiation and adult cessation.
Thanks to our New York City contractors and contractors across the state for all the good work they do to reduce the impact of tobacco industry promotion and marketing, and protect the health and well-being of all New Yorkers.
While there have been declines in teen cigarette use, other forms of tobacco (hookah, e-cigarettes) are gaining in popularity among teens. According to the nationwide Monitoring the Future study, 21 percent of high school seniors smoked a water pipe device, commonly known as a hookah, sometime in the last year.
Teens often may not know that hookah smoking can be as dangerous as cigarettes.
Here are some common myths about hookah smoking:
Changing social norms takes time.
Just fifteen years ago, passengers on international flights could smoke, restaurants and bars were filled with smoke, office workers smoked at their desks, and our parks and beaches were littered with cigarette butts.
Now we can breath clean smoke-free air where we work and socialize–but necessarily where we live. If you live in a multi-unit/family building, near a smoker, you can be exposed to secondhand smoke.
New Yorkers are increasingly embracing smoke-free housing because all too often, when one person smokes, the whole building smokes.
Some Coalition staff at the celebration.
On June 18, 2014, Public Health Solutions celebrated progress in public health at its benefit, To Your Health 2014. Colleagues, friends, and stakeholders joined us at Guastavino’s, a perfect backdrop for an evening of celebration, community, and commitment.
The work of the Coalition, a program of Public Health Solutions, was highlighted during the event. This video shows the tremendous strides made in tobacco control and prevention.
New Yorkers are increasingly embracing smoke-free housing.
According to DNAinfo, as recently as 2008, only one rental listing advertised that it was in a smoke-free building and no for-sale condos or co-ops were advertised as smoke-free. But by 2013, 1,488 rentals, 100 condos and 66 co-ops were listed in smoke-free buildings. This year, Equity Residential’s 490-unit building, the tallest in Brooklyn, went smoke-free.
The Coalition works closely with tenants, landlords, and building managers to increase the adoption of voluntary smoke-free housing policies throughout New York City. We provide technical assistance, educate residents about the danger of secondhand smoke, and help landlords and building managers tailor smoke-free policies to meet their needs.
June 19, 2014 marked the fifth anniversary of the landmark 2009 law (Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act) granting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority over tobacco products.
The Coalition commends the FDA for the steps it has taken to reduce tobacco use and applauds the agency’s efforts to extend its regulatory authority over e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. It’s an important first step, but we believe the FDA can and should do more to regulate how and to whom e-cigarettes are marketed.