November 21, 2013 marked the American Cancer Society’s 38th annual Great American Smokeout, a day to encourage smokers to quit. This year, the NYC Coalition partnered with the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) held an event to celebrate the occasion at BODY WORLDS: Pulse, an exhibition that displays preserved human bodies and reveals inner anatomical structures. Throughout November 2013, BODY WORLDS will have a free display in the main lobby of the lungs of a smoker and non-smoker side-by-side.
On Tuesday, November 19, 2013, Mayor Bloomberg signed landmark legislation making New York City the first major city in the country to raise to 21 the minimum sale age for cigarettes, cigars, and electronic cigarettes. The Mayor also signed a law that will stop tobacco industry discounting schemes, set a $10.50 price floor for a pack of cigarettes or little cigars, and crack down on cigarette tax evasion.
Each year, there are an estimated 440,000 premature tobacco-related deaths in the United States. Despite the known dangers of smoking, an estimated 20,000 New York City public high school students are still smoking cigarettes (2011 YRBS).
We know that exposure to tobacco advertising may affect youth smoking behavior. This past Spring, the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), working with the NYC Coalition, piloted a public health mentorship program with college and high school students in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx to determine Big Tobacco’s presence in these communities.