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.
Last week, I was honored to be on a panel with NYC’s Commissioner of Health, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, at a day-long discussion sponsored by the New York Academy of Medicine and the NYU Global Institute of Public Health entitled, “Maintaining a Public Health Agenda During Political Change”. Joining me on the panel were Veronica White, Commissioner for NYC Department of Parks and Recreation; and the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s Associate Commissioner for External Affairs, Sam Miller, and Deputy Commissioner for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Susan Kansagra.
You’re only as good as your partners. That axiom is essential to the Coalition’s success. We partner with community members, legislators, and local health advocates to promote a smoke-free city through neighborhood-based efforts, information sharing, and policy change. Our success would not be possible without a number of health and youth-focused organizations throughout the city.
The NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City was honored to be a part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work Grant (CPPW), a federally funded initiative to combat obesity and tobacco use that spanned fifty communities across the United States where over fifty million people live.
As part of this grant, the Coalition provided funding at both the borough and citywide level to non-profit organizations that committed to increasing awareness in their communities of the harmful effects of tobacco use and secondhand smoke, as well as how tobacco marketing in stores at the point-of-sale perpetuates the epidemic of tobacco-related disease.
According to the World Health Organization, tobacco use is the world’s leading cause of preventable death. If current trends persist, tobacco will kill more than 8 million people worldwide annually by the year 2030, with 80 percent of these deaths in low- and middle-income countries. The top five cigarette-consuming countries are China, Russia, United States, Japan and Indonesia. China consumes more than 35 percent of the world’s cigarettes, with 53 percent of males smoking.
This global tobacco epidemic of preventable death, and economic harm will continue to ravage countries and families around the world unless we work together worldwide with a unified voice against Big Tobacco.
Last week, the NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City joined international public health professionals, smoking cessation practitioners, academics and researchers working in tobacco control and public health around the world for a two-day conference in Cardiff, Wales, “Innovative Approaches to Tobacco Control.” The conference offered a packed program of tobacco control experts from across the UK and abroad who spoke about the latest strategies, research and innovative approaches to tobacco control.
Our partner, the American Lung Association of the North East (ALANE), has been awarded a grant for Expanding Smoke-Free Communities, a project made possible by the National Dissemination and Support Initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Community Transformation Grants Program. This week, we’re joining ALANE, Bronx Health REACH, our Bronx Smoke-Free Partnership, The Children’s Hospital of Montefiore and other health advocates to offer strategic direction in a new initiative to reduce tobacco use and eliminate secondhand exposure in multi-unit housing in the South Bronx.
In the South Bronx, one in five adults smoke, and South Bronx residents are 35% more likely to be current smokers than NYC residents overall (19% vs. 14%). Not only does the South Bronx have one of the highest smoking rates in the city, but it also has one of the highest rates of children with asthma. Our work in the South Bronx is vitally important to reduce health disparities in one of the city’s poorest communities.
Our strategic action plan will focus on significantly increasing smoke-free housing options in the South Bronx, in part, by awarding a limited number of Smoke-Free Home Mini-Grants. Low-income housing providers in the South Bronx will be eligible to receive assistance for their efforts to increase smoke-free housing. These awards are just part of a comprehensive approach designed to mobilize low incoming housing providers and increase community capacity towards increasing smoke-free housing.