July 10, 2008 – When the price of cigarettes topped ten dollars a pack at some city outlets last month, thousands of smokers knew it was time to quit. An analysis of data from the city’s 311 line showed the number of calls for help to quit smoking was three times higher during the week the price increase went into effect compared to the same week in the previous year. More than 2,700 New Yorkers called for help in the week starting June 2nd compared to about 850 in the same period in 2007. In addition to the 2,700 callers, about 1,600 smokers got free nicotine patches on June 3rd at sites across the five boroughs.
New York City cigarettes are now the priciest in the nation, costing a pack-a-day smoker at least $3,000 a year. The Health Department’s June campaign showed smokers how many daily necessities or seemingly unattainable luxuries can be bought with this savings, from daycare and laundry to a vacation or a shopping spree.
“Most smokers want to quit,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, NYC Health Commissioner. “And the extra push of a higher price results in many smokers stopping smoking forever. Thanks to this measure, tens of thousands of New Yorkers will live healthier lives.”
Increasing the price of cigarettes has proven to be the most effective way to motivate New Yorkers to quit. Tax increases in 2002 contributed to a five year 21% drop in adult smoking and a 52% drop in smoking among New York City public high school students, as announced earlier this year. The new state tax increase of $1.25 is expected to cut the number of smokers significantly and to save tens of thousands of lives.
Five Tips to Make Quitting Easier
- Prepare yourself. Make a list of the reasons for
quitting and plan for situations that may tempt you to smoke.
- Pick a “quit date.” Get rid of ashtrays and lighters,
and all cigarettes.
- Make your home and car smoke-free. It is healthier for
others and will help you resist smoking.
- Get support and encouragement. Tell your family,
friends, and co-workers that you are quitting and ask for their support. If
you use medicines to quit, you can double or triple your chances of success.
- Find a “quit buddy.” Ask a smoker to quit with you, or find someone who has already quit who you can talk to for support.