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New York's Smoking Rates Decline Faster Than US Rates

Armen Hareyan's picture

New York's Smoking Rates

Fourth independent evaluation of New York's Tobacco Control Program noted that the prevalence of youth and adult smoking in 2006 declined faster in New York than in the United States as a whole.

"This independent evaluation report recognizes the outstanding work New York State has done in making people aware of the dangers of tobacco use and bringing down use rates among both youth and adults," said New York State Commissioner of Health Richard F. Daines, M.D. "The report also points out ways we can improve and have an even bigger impact in the future."

Ursula E. Bauer, Ph.D., director of the state's tobacco control program, said: "Every reduction in tobacco use saves lives and saves money. We can't improve the health of New Yorkers or contain health care costs without addressing tobacco use in a major way. This report lays out the essential ingredients of an effective program to do both."

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The Fourth Annual Independent Evaluation of New York's Tobacco Control Program prepared by the Public Health Policy Research Program at RTI International of North Carolina reported that from 2000 through 2006, smoking prevalence among adult New Yorkers declined by 16 percent and smoking among high school students declined by 40 percent. During the same period, nationwide smoking rates declined by 11 percent for adults and by 18 percent for high school students. The number of smokers in New York has declined by more than 600,000 during the 7-year-period.

During 2006 under the previous administration, the independent evaluator noted that progress in conducting counter-marketing through the use of strong, high-quality media messages was "slowed once again by unnecessary bureaucratic and political delays despite the program's efforts to plan and implement measures in a timely manner."

"Governor Spitzer has expressed his full support for making smoking prevention a banner health priority in New York State," said Commissioner Daines. "We are working closely with the program director to break down barriers and remove roadblocks that impeded progress in the past and to go forward with the strongest campaign possible to reduce tobacco use and the terrible impact it has on health."

RTI International made a number of recommendations it said should be implemented in order for the State to achieve its goal of reducing the number of smokers by one million by 2010. The recommendations include: