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Press Release

Press Release # 032-06
Tuesday, May 9, 2006

CONTACT: (212) 788-5290; (212) 788-3058 (After Hours)
Andrew Tucker (; Eric Riley (


Health Commissioner Frieden Encourages Smokers to Call 311 Today

NEW YORK CITY – May 9, 2006 – More than 12,000 courses of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) patches have been given out to New Yorkers who smoke, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden announced today. With one third of the 35,000 total patches gone in such a short period of time, Dr. Frieden urged New York City smokers who want to quit to call 3-1-1 now.

"Supplies of the patch are going fast," said Dr. Frieden. "In less than one week, we've taken more than 20,000 calls and given out more than one third of our supply of patches. Most smokers want to quit, and thousands of New Yorkers have been calling 3-1-1 to get help. Medications like the patch nearly double chances of a successful quit, so I urge all New York City smokers age 18 and over to call 3-1-1 today for a healthier and longer life. If you know someone who needs help quitting, ask them to call. A simple phone call may save your life."

Who's Been Getting the Patch So Far

On Wednesday, May 3, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) announced that the first 35,000 eligible smokers to call 3-1-1 would receive the patch at no-cost. Of more than 12,000 patches distributed thus far:

  • Nearly half (45%) of patches have gone to New Yorkers ages 45-64. Young people (ages 18-24), who make up 10% of the City's heavy smokers, only represented 5% of calls.
  • The distribution has been fairly equal to women (52%) and men (48%), although men comprise 6 out of 10 the city's heavy smokers.
  • Most patches (45%) have been distributed to whites, followed by African-Americans (28%), Hispanics (21%) and Asian/Pacific Islanders (4%). For the most part, this mirrors the distribution of the City's heaviest smokers, with the exception of Asians, who make up 9% of the City's heavy smokers.
  • Most patches have been distributed to Brooklyn residents (29%) followed by Queens (26%), Bronx (19%), Manhattan (16%), and Staten Island (11%).

For information about how to quit smoking, call 311 or log on to