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.

Tobacco use is responsible for five million, or 12 per cent, of all deaths of adults above the age of 30 globally each year – equivalent to one death every six seconds.  That’s a staggering statistic.

In New York State alone, over 25,000 adults die each year from smoking. 389,000 kids in New York State who are now under 18 will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.

Dr. Chan used another metaphor when talking about the tobacco industry.  “The tobacco industry behaves like a corrosive substance that can eat through, or seep through, any crack or fissure in the armor of our defenses.  Our response must be to seal all these cracks and fissures, one by one, with science and evidence, supported by instruments for applying this knowledge and backed by the rule of law.”

An apt metaphor given that when one person smokes in an apartment building, the whole building smokes.  Secondhand smoke cannot be contained.  In fact, more than half of New York City residents who don’t smoke have elevated levels of the residue of secondhand smoke in their blood.

While we have lowered NYC smoking rates to an all-time low of 14 percent, 853,000 New York City residents who still smoke need our help.  Tobacco use continues to inflict a terrible toll on our city, especially among at-risk populations.

We don’t want smoking rates to just decline, we want them to plummet, especially among our youth.  Join us in Albany on January 22 as the NYC Coalition joins youth and our community partners from all five boroughs to educate state lawmakers about proven strategies that are now in place to reduce the burden caused by tobacco and save lives and money.

We can’t afford any more drive-by shootings.  Let’s stop tobacco use dead in its tracks.