NEW YORK CITY – May 30, 2007 – More than a million New Yorkers will still be smoking on World No Tobacco Day tomorrow, making secondhand smoke exposure a persistent public health concern in New York City. But new data suggest that many New Yorkers—smokers and non-smokers alike—increasingly prefer smoke-free environments.
In a newly released survey of New York City smokers, the Health Department found that half are annoyed by other people's smoke. A third of the smokers surveyed said they had gone so far as to ask someone not to smoke around them in the past year.
"New Yorkers are keenly aware that secondhand smoke is toxic," said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. "Even smokers are taking action to reduce tobacco smoke pollution—either because they find it irritating or because they understand it hurts their families."
More than two thirds (67%) of New Yorkers now live in smoke-free homes, and the proportion is growing steadily. More than 350,000 people, including thousands of smokers, have stamped out smoking in their homes since 2002.
Despite the trend toward smoke-free living, more than 200,000 New York City children are still being exposed to secondhand smoke at home. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of asthma attacks, which send hundreds of children to the hospital every year.
"Secondhand smoke is especially dangerous to pregnant women, as well as babies and children," said Dr. Frieden. "Every day, it sends more than 100 kids to doctors or emergency departments with asthma, ear infections or lung infections. Making your home smoke-free helps safeguard your family against all of these conditions, and it helps prevent cancer and heart disease too."
Secondhand Smoke is Toxic
- Non-smokers who live with secondhand smoke are more likely to develop serious illness such as cancer and heart disease.
- Secondhand smoke is especially harmful to children. When parents smoke:
- Babies are more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Children have more illnesses, including ear infections and asthma.
- Children are twice as likely to become smokers themselves.
- Women who live with secondhand smoke are more likely to have low-birth-weight babies, pre-term delivery, and miscarriage.
For more information on making your home smoke-free, visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/public/dohmhnews4-09.pdf