Department of Health Releases Data on Effectiveness of Anti-Tobacco Efforts, Launches New Campaign

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

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

February 18, 2022 — The Department of Health today announced an anti-tobacco media campaign, “You Quit, You Win!” reminding New Yorkers who smoke what they gain if they quit. The Department also released a new data analysis (PDF) that found that between 2015 and 2019, the Department’s anti-tobacco media campaigns helped nearly 8,000 New Yorkers quit smoking. These campaigns not only improved the health of New Yorkers, but were also highly profitable. Every dollar spent on a media campaign resulted in savings of $32 to the healthcare system and society, as people were encouraged to quit smoking and avoid tobacco-related health problems.

“Our anti-tobacco campaigns have saved lives – and this year 12,000 more 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 now.”

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

You give up, you win!is broadcast across the city via television commercials, digital liveboards in subways, bus shelters, newspapers and the Staten Island Ferry.

Tobacco use can cause strokes, 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 successfully quitting smoking. New Yorkers who want to quit smoking can request free nicotine patches and lozenges by visiting nysmokefree.com or by calling 1-866-NY-QUITS (866-697-8487).

Although the adult smoking rate in New York has fallen from 21.5% in 2002 to 10.9% in 2020, there are still 700,000 New York adults who smoke. Troubling inequalities also exist because not everyone has equal access to factors that prevent smoking or facilitate quitting. The 2020 New York City Community Health Survey found adult smoking rates were highest 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 without a high school diploma were more than twice as likely to smoke as those with a college diploma (16.7% versus 6.3%). Men were more likely to smoke than women (13.9% versus 8.3%). Smoking was also particularly high among adults with severe psychological distress (SPD), compared to adults without SPD (24.9% versus 10.0%). Historically, the tobacco industry has used manipulative marketing tactics to target these communities and young people, while resisting increased regulation and surveillance, which has contributed to these disparities.

“We know New Yorkers have had to deal with a lot over the past two years. We want to remind them that by quitting smoking they will not only improve their health, but other aspects of their lives as well,” said Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Commissioner Dr. Michelle Morse. “If you’re considering quitting smoking for any reason, you don’t have to take this journey alone. Help is available, including coaching and free nicotine meds, which can help you manage cravings and other withdrawal symptoms, to make things a little easier.

Resources to help quit smoking

  • Visit the New York State Smokers Helplineor call 866-NY-QUITS (866-697-8487), to request a free nicotine medication starter kit and to speak with a quit coach.
    • If your preferred language is Chinese (800-838-8917), Korean (800-556-5564), or Vietnamese (800-778-8440), call the Asian Smokers Helpline, Monday through Friday , from 10 a.m. to midnight or visit asiansmokersquitline.org
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about smoking cessation medications (PDF) and counseling options. Most health insurance plans (PDF), including Medicaid, cover services to help you quit smoking.
    • If you’re not ready to quit, support is always available to help you achieve your goals, including treatment options to help you reduce your tobacco use or avoid smoking when you want . Go to nyc.gov/health and search for “Nicotine Withdrawal” to learn more.
  • Visit nyc.gov/health and search for:
    • Health map to find local smoking cessation 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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