We Need to Do More

mmrWhile the smoking rate in NYC is lower for youth and adults than the national rates, the recently released Mayor’s Management Report shows that the adult smoking rate, currently at 15.5%, has remained essentially unchanged since 2010.

In an effort to further reduce the burden of tobacco, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network,  American Heart Association,  American Lung Association of the Northeast, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids have urged the New York City Council to pass three bills currently under consideration that would raise the minimum age for purchase of tobacco products to 21, prohibit displays of tobacco products in retail stores, crack down on tax evasion and implement other commonsense measures to keep cheap tobacco products out of kids’ hands.

Big Tobacco continues to market their deadly products to youth, and the decline in smoking rates has stalled.  Smoking is an addiction that kills more than 25,000 state residents a year.  For every tobacco-related death, two new young people under the age of 26 become regular smokers.  We must do more to protect our youth and all New Yorkers from smoking.

We are concerned that with funding cuts to vital public health programs, smoking rates will plateau even longer – and possibly increase – among all populations.  We support bold policies and initiatives that will protect our youth and help save lives and potentially millions of dollars in health care costs.