New York City’s Department of Health released this week report which reveals that in the city there are more than 1 million smokers for the first time since 2007.
The released data is quite alarming as it shows an increase in number of tobacco users in New York in spite of local authorities efforts to fight smoking by launching numerous anti-smoking campaigns. New York is the first city in the USA which banned smoking in parks, bars and restaurants. Namely this initiative inspired many other cities to adopt similar measures. These days New Yorks has highest tobacco taxes and this does not prevent smokers from buying cigarettes.
The report shows that in 2013 there were 16% of smokers in the city in comparison with 2010 when there was 14% smokers. The 2013 increase in smoking rates occured despite smoking rates reduction across the country. Data shows that totally in the USA are 18% smokers and New York remains below this level.
What is the reson fro smoking rates increase in New York City? Health officials say that there are several reasons for that. First of all annual tobacco control budget was cut in half since 2009 from $13.5 million to $7.1 million. Besides this, New York city’s anti-tobacco efforts were not oriented on casual smokers aged 20-40.
Instead, the city put its efforts to help smokers quit and prevent youth from starting smoking slim cigarettes. According to Christine Johnson Curtis, a deputy city health commissioner, a new approach is needed in order to touch other categories of smokers.
Good news is that 2013 smoking rate is lower than in 2003 (18.3%), when the Mayor proposed to prohibit smoking in bars and restaurants.
On Monday there was launched a new anti-smoking campaign which highlights the long-term dangers of light smoking.