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City Celebrates 10 Years of a Smoke-Free NYC

City’s smoking rates are at record lows, while resident life expectancy at record high, according to Mayor Bloomberg.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday celebrated the 10-year anniversary of New York City’s Smoke-Free Air Act with an impact report touting the city's resident life expectancy now at 80.9 years, an all-time high.

According to the report, an estimated 10,000 premature smoking-related deaths have been prevented among New Yorkers since the legislation was passed.

“Ten years ago when New York City prohibited smoking in restaurants and bars, many predicted the end of the hospitality, restaurant and tourism industries,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Yet ten years later, fewer New Yorkers are smoking, we are living longer, our industries are thriving and nobody longs for a return to smoke-filled bars and restaurants."

New York City's major smoking reduction initiatives since 2002:

  • 2002: Tobacco Control becomes a public health priority for the administration, which introduces a comprehensive plan that addresses legislation, taxation, cessation, education and evaluating the impact of interventions.
  • 2002: Smoke-Free Air Act is introduced by City Council, State and City cigarette tax increases go into effect, making New York City's cigarette pack the most expensive in the nation.
  • 2003: Smoke-Free Air Act goes into effect - all NYC bars and restaurants are smoke-free.
  • 2004: City begins distributing nicotine replacement therapy to New Yorkers who want to quit though giveaways.
  • 2006 - present: Smoking cessation is promoted through hard-hitting media campaigns.
  • 2009: Smoke-Free Air Act expanded to prohibit smoking on or around grounds and entrances of health care facilities. Graphic health warning signs are required in all tobacco retailers (later overturned by court ruling) and flavored tobacco products (non-cigarette) are prohibited.
  • 2011: Smoking prohibited in parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas.
  • 2013:  Legislation introduced to prohibit the display of tobacco products and decrease access to cheap and illegal cigarettes.

“The Smoke-Free Air Act has not only saved thousands of lives, it has fundamentally changed the way New Yorkers view smoking,” said city Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. “This single law has protected workers, but more important, it has made smoking socially unacceptable. Hundreds of thousands of smokers have quit, and the rest are smoking fewer cigarettes per day. And no one wants to bring back second-hand smoke in restaurants and bars."

Bloomberg said that New York City’s public health innovations have been, and will continue to be, a model for the rest of the world.

Harriet Brown March 28, 2013 at 06:57 PM
Does anyone remember freedom and democracy? Isn't it great to live in a free country? Does anyone remember life before the billionaire dictator bought the elections?
Audrey Silk March 29, 2013 at 10:33 AM
"Bloomberg said...," "Bloomberg said...," "Dr. Farley said..." Doesn't anyone QUESTION what Bloomberg and Farley say? Or how about this... When they DO -- as I was asked my thoughts about it by reporters coming to me for a counter comment -- they ultimately don't print the analysis of what "Bloomberg said..."! A line about freedom from me is all well and good. But without scrutiny by the media members themselves or not allowing an airing of debate over Bloomberg's account of the matter (business stats, health stats) then what have we got here? Bowing to the word of Bloomberg. He wouldn't dare say anything that isn't questionable. There's a term for such a thing: State-run media. Founder, NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (C.L.A.S.H.)
Phil Konigsberg March 30, 2013 at 06:33 AM
It was an honor and a pleasure to attend the 10th Anniversary of the NYC Smokefree Air Act on Wednesday at the Museum of the City of New York. It is amazing how much better the quality of life in New York City has become in the last decade. Talking about freedom, for the last decade, I have been able to go out to a restaurant with family and friends and eat without having to be concerned if someone a few feet away from us was going to disrupt our dinner by lighting up, or worse, cause my lung disease to further diminish my ability to breathe. That is what I call freedom. Freedom to go about our lives without having to breathe in tobacco smoke. Audrey, the last I heard you lived in Brooklyn. Have you moved to Northeast Queens?The two of us have been at opposite ends of the spectrum on smoking for a quarter of a century. I will give you credit for your fortitude and I guess I will see you at City Hall in the not to distant future when the Health Committee holds its public hearings on the recent tobacco control legislation introduced.
Audrey Silk March 30, 2013 at 08:29 AM
Phil, thanks for proving how distorted your view of things are by implying that my participation in this article is misplaced because it's under a Queens section and I don't live in Queens. Living in NYC isn't good enough for ya, huh? But overall, like another one of you I know, you take the position that views should be ignored if they don't live there. Really now, I think you need to tell that to the NY Post or Daily News who print comments from out-of-staters on things that go on in NY. They appear to be violating your rules. Guess too that freedom is only freedom when it's YOUR kind of freedom. Boy, you have a lot of conditions. That's called whims, not principles.

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