Not Just Your Typical Doctor’s Note

A New Tool for Parents and Pediatricians to Eliminate Secondhand Smoke Exposure at Home.

aapThe NYC Coalition was proud to join the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for their New York Chapter 3 meeting in December at Mount Sinai Hospital.  We participated in a robust discussion around tobacco control and how pediatricians can help to combat smoking, which is not only the number one cause of preventable death, but also a major contributor to childhood asthma.

Working with the Manhattan Tobacco Cessation Program (MTCP), the AAP has developed a new tool to help eliminate secondhand smoke exposure at home — a compelling doctor’s note that parents can take to neighbors and building managers.

The Coalition believes that all New Yorkers have the right to breathe smoke-free air where they live, work, and play.  We’re grateful that organizations such as the AAP and MTCP are raising awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure and helping to protect our kids.  AAP has developed a smoke-free housing toolkit with the American Lung Association and the Department of Housing and Urban Development and also supports Smoking Disclosure Policies.

Saving Lives and Money

NYC Coalition and our community partners in Albany for our annual Legislative Day.

NYC Coalition and our community partners in Albany for our annual Legislative Day.

Last week, New York State again led the country with a groundbreaking approach to gun control laws. We applaud this leadership and hope that the State will continue to be a pioneer with tobacco control. Tobacco is still the number one cause of preventable death.

Our Manhattan met with NYS Assembly Member Deborah Glick

Our Manhattan met with NYS Assembly Member Deborah Glick

On January 22, the NYC Coalition joined Tobacco Control leaders from around New York State (NYS) and traveled to Albany to meet with legislators who can protect New Yorkers from the burden of tobacco.

Tobacco use continues to inflict a terrible toll on NYS residents, especially many at-risk populations.  The NYC Coalition met with state legislators representing all five boroughs and explained that our work reduces the burden caused by tobacco.  Our work saves lives and the state tax dollars.  Tobacco control programs around NYS create healthier tobacco-free communities, protect children, and help current smokers to quit.

Our Bronx team meeting with Senator Gustavo Rivera

Our Bronx team meeting with Senator Gustavo Rivera

Each year, our community partners and youth from across the city join us for Legislative Day.  It’s a tremendous opportunity to discuss with our elected officials the tobacco control strategies and successes that benefit all New York City residents, especially our city’s most vulnerable.

The NYC Coalition coordinates with community members, allied health partners and neighborhood organizations such as the Chinese-American Planning Council; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community

Our Brooklyn team met with Lentol Marcy Feiman, staff member from Assemblyman Joseph Lentol's office.

Our Brooklyn team met with Marcy Feinman, Legislative Liaison member from Assemblyman Joseph Lentol’s office.

Center;Global Kids; YM & YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood; American Lung Association of the Northeast, and Community Health Action of Staten Island to provide community level programs that reach disadvantaged urban neighborhoods.  The working poor and minorities are among the hardest hit by tobacco use. Tobacco control programs help those who need it most.

Our Staten Island team met with Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis

Our Staten Island team met with Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis

While New York has made great strides in reducing tobacco use, smoking prevalence has not declined for the poor, the less educated and those with self-reported poor mental health. These at-risk groups can least afford the cost of tobacco and the consequences of addiction.

In New York City, 14% of adults are smokers.  In 2010, 137,000 (12.6 percent) teenagers and 2,330,000 (15.5 percent) adults were smokers in New York State.  Since 2000, adult smoking has fallen 28 percent in the overall population, but is unchanged among those with the lowest incomes, a group that now has the highest smoking rate.

Our Brooklyn team met with Lentol Marcy Feiman, staff member from Assemblyman Joseph Lentol's office.

Our Brooklyn team met with Lentol Marcy Feiman, staff member from Assemblyman Joseph Lentol’s office.

In New York State, more than 25,400 lives are lost due to tobacco use annually. Tobacco costs New Yorkers an estimated $8.17 billion on annual health care expenditures, including $2.7 billion in state and local Medicaid costs.

Tobacco control programs are a wise investment of NYS dollars and more than pay for themselves by preventing illness, saving lives and reducing health care costs.

Our Queens team met with Assembly Member Markey's office.

Our Queens team met with Assembly Member Markey’s office.

New York Doesn’t Make the Grade

ALALike most of you, report cards were always a big deal in my household when I was growing up.  I can only imagine what would have happened if I came home with two A’s and two F’s!

Those are the grades New York State earned in the American Lung Association’s recently released State of Tobacco Control 2013 report.  While the report gives New York a “thumbs up” for having the highest cigarette tax in the nation and praises the state’s strong smoke-free indoor air laws, the state again received “F’s” for inadequately funding its tobacco control program and failing to remove the barriers that prevent New Yorkers from accessing needed smoking cessation services.  You might say that New York failed to protect children from Big Tobacco’s marketing tactics by neglecting to invest in programs and policies proven to reduce tobacco use.

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Breathe Fresh Air Again in NYS Parks

Riverbank State Park Carousel

Riverbank State Park Carousel

New York State (NYS) is planning to go smoke-free in certain areas at NYS parks, recreational facilities, and historic sites.

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has proposed regulations that would prohibit smoking near playgrounds, athletic fields, swimming pools and other highly used areas at state-operated parks and historic sites.

The NYC Coalition strongly supports NYS’s adoption of these regulations.  Since May of 2011, New York City parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas have been smoke-free thanks to legislation overwhelmingly supported by the City Council and signed into law by Mayor Bloomberg.

The Coalition applauds the proposed rules designating state parks in New York City, which are some of the most frequently visited parks in the state, as entirely smoke-free, both because of their relative-size and the existing city parks policy.

Time Out New York Kids, an essential resource for NYC’s fastest-growing subculture, curious kids and their parents, has endorsed NYC smoke-free parks and beaches.  The magazine will remind New Yorkers of the anniversary and said, “Because of the year-old smoking ban, parents no longer need to worry about their kids inhaling secondhand smoke in parks or beaches—something we may now take for granted but are nonetheless thankful for.”

Risa Goldberg, founder of Big City Moms, one of the biggest mom groups in NYC said, “Big City Moms is thrilled that NY’s parks and beaches are smoke-free.  Our children can enjoy our city’s parks and beaches without breathing in secondhand smoke or see adults smoke.  Kids should get a lesson on how to enjoy the outdoors, play baseball, or swim, not on how to smoke cigarettes.”

We’re glad the State is following the lead of NYC and plans to make all our state parks a place where kids can breathe clean, smoke-free air where they play.  To read the NYC Coalition’s full public comment, click here.

No More Drive-By Shootings

WHOLogo“Tobacco use is the epidemiological equivalent of a drive-by shooting – it hurts the innocent bystanders as well as those held captive by an addiction that damages their health.”

Dr. Margaret Chan, the Executive Director of the UN World Health Organization (WHO), said that at the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

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A Matter of Social Justice

Who’s still smoking these days?

Compared to the rest of the country, New York State’s overall smoking rate has dropped much faster than the national average. Despite this progress, health inequities still exist, and vulnerable population groups are  benefiting less from the progress the state has made.

At-risk populations in New York State (NYS) have benefited the least from declining smoking rates. They include residents who earn less than $15,000, have less than a high school education, and report poor mental health. However, declines in smoking rates between 2000 and 2010 were statistically significant for females, whites and those who reported good mental health. The disparities are clear.

A new video from Legacy shows that those who are below the poverty line have significantly higher smoking rates.

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