Health Department Releases Data on Effectiveness of Anti-Smoking Efforts and Launches New Campaign

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A recent analysis of the effectiveness of Health Department media campaigns found that between 2015 to 2019 they helped 8,000 New Yorkers quit smoking, saving lives

New Yorkers who want to quit smoking can apply for free nicotine patches and lozenges by visiting nysmokefree.com or calling 1-866-NY-QUITS

February 18, 2022 — The Health Department today announced an anti-smoking media campaign, “You Quit, You Win!” reminding New Yorkers who smoke of what they gain if they quit. The Department also released a new data analysis (PDF) which found that, between 2015 and 2019, the Department’s anti-smoking media campaigns helped nearly 8,000 New Yorkers stop smoking. These campaigns not only improved New Yorkers’ health but were also highly cost-effective. Every $1 spent on a media campaign led to $32 in cost savings for the health care system and society because of people becoming inspired to quit and avoiding tobacco-related health issues.

“Our anti-smoking campaigns have saved lives – and this year an additional 12,000 New Yorkers will celebrate a birthday that would otherwise have been lost,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. “I urge all New Yorkers who smoke to consider quitting today, there’s never a better time than right now.”

The Department’s anti-smoking campaigns led to almost 8,000 successful quits and averted more than 1,000 deaths. They created an estimated $864 million in total cost savings including $26,000 for every premature death avoided, $2,200 for every birthday saved, and $2,000 for every year of good health gained.

You Quit, You Win!” is running citywide via television ads, digital liveboards in the subways, bus shelters, newspapers, and the Staten Island Ferry.

Tobacco use can cause stroke, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, vascular disease, and more than 10 types of cancer. Using medications, such as nicotine patches and lozenges, and counseling can double the chances of quitting successfully. New Yorkers who want to quit smoking can apply for free nicotine patches and lozenges by visiting nysmokefree.com or calling 1-866-NY-QUITS (866-697-8487).

Although adult smoking rates in New York City declined from 21.5% in 2002 to 10.9% in 2020, there are still 700,000 adult New Yorkers who smoke. Troubling inequities also exist because not everyone has equal access to factors that prevent smoking or make it easier to quit. The 2020 New York City Community Health Survey found that adult smoking rates were higher in Staten Island (19.9%), the Bronx (13.7%), and Brooklyn (11.2%), than in Manhattan (8.1%); the rate in Queens (9.6%) was similar to Manhattan. Adults with less than a high school education were more than twice as likely to smoke as those with a college degree (16.7% vs. 6.3%). Men were more likely to smoke than women (13.9% vs. 8.3%). Smoking was also particularly high among adults with serious psychological distress (SPD), compared to adults without SPD (24.9% vs. 10.0%). Historically, the tobacco industry has used manipulative marketing tactics to target these communities and youth, while also resisting increased regulation and oversight, which has contributed to these disparities.

“We know New Yorkers have had to deal with a lot over the last two years. We want to remind them that by quitting smoking, they will not only improve their health, but other aspects of their lives too,” said Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Commissioner Dr. Michelle Morse. “If you are thinking about quitting smoking for any reason, you don’t have to go on that journey alone. Help is available, including coaching and free nicotine medications, which can help you manage cravings and other withdrawal symptoms, to make it a little bit easier.”

Resources to Help Quit Smoking

  • Visit the New York State Smokers’ Quitline, or call 866-NY-QUITS (866-697-8487), to apply for free starter kit of nicotine medications and to talk to a coach.
    • If your preferred language is Chinese (800-838-8917), Korean (800-556-5564) or Vietnamese (800-778-8440), call the Asian Smokers’ Quitline, Monday to Friday, from 10 am to midnight or visit asiansmokersquitline.org
  • Talk to your health care provider about tobacco treatment medications (PDF) and counseling options. Most health insurance plans (PDF), including Medicaid, cover services to help you quit.
    • If you are not ready to quit, support is still available to heal you reach your goals, including treatment options to help you cut back or avoid smoking when you want to. Visit nyc.gov/health and search for “Nicotine Withdrawal” to learn more.
  • Visit nyc.gov/health and search:
    • Health Map to find local quit-smoking programs
    • NYC Quits to find more tips to help you quit

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MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Lanza / Shari Logan,
[email protected]

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