The tobacco epidemic is far from over and significant disparities in tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure persist for far too many New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. NYC Smoke-Free is committed to building health equity to put an end to the devastating tobacco epidemic.
New York City has been a global leader in the fight against Big Tobacco and has made tremendous progress in preventing tobacco addiction and protecting our communities from dangerous secondhand smoke pollution. We have put in place evidence-based best practices in comprehensive tobacco control that are dramatically saving lives, increasing life expectancy, and improving the health of all New Yorkers.
However, even as overall smoking prevalence rates have trended downwards and are at historic lows, New Yorkers with limited income or education as well as those who struggle with mental health continue to have higher smoking rates. Studies have also found disturbing tobacco disparities in Chinese American, LGBT, and immigrant populations, with smoking rates up to three times higher than the general population.
Now it’s time to continue on NYC’s progress against tobacco and make additional investments in more comprehensive approaches that reach all New Yorkers. We must ensure tobacco disparities cease to continue with unmet needs for New Yorkers who are most vulnerable to tobacco addiction and the tobacco industry’s aggressive marketing.