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Press Release

Press Release # 060-09
Tuesday, September 8, 2009

CONTACT: (212) 788-5290
Jessica Scaperotti/Celina De Leon,

Health Department Launches New TV Spot to Show How Smoking-Related Deaths Affect Families

Smoking kills 7,400 New Yorkers every year, and each of them leaves loved ones behind

September 8, 2009 – The health consequences of smoking are no secret. People who smoke die on average 14 years younger than those who do not smoke, and often endure years of progressive illness along the way. As the Health Department reminds New Yorkers in a new televised ad campaign, smokers themselves are not the only ones who suffer. Every time cigarettes claim another victim – as happened 7,400 times in New York City last year – they also rob a family of a loved one.

The new TV spot centers on a smoker named Anthony, who talks matter-of-factly from a hospital bed about what’s left of his diminished life. Despite being terminally ill with lung and throat cancer, he describes the pleasure he will take in his daughter’s upcoming holiday visit. “I will be alive for that,” he says. In the next frame, the viewer learns that Anthony died 10 days after recording the message – without ever seeing his daughter again.

The testimonial spot, originally produced for the United Kingdom’s health department, debuted in New York City on Labor Day. It will run for three weeks, and can be viewed online by visiting

“Smoking is New York City’s biggest health problem,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner. “Cigarettes kill more than 7,000 New Yorkers every year, yet nearly a million people continue to smoke. These kinds of campaigns have inspired thousands of New Yorkers to quit smoking.”

Tips on Quitting

  • Set a date to quit and mark it on your calendar. Get rid of ashtrays, lighters and cigarettes.
  • Visit your doctor for support and advice with your quit plan.
  • Make a list of reasons why you want to quit.
  • Make a list of family and friends who will support you.
  • Avoid triggers, including alcohol, caffeine and other smokers.
  • Exercise to relieve stress and improve your mood. Try a brisk 30-minute walk at least four days a week
  • Consider using a safe nicotine alternative such as replacement patches, gum or lozenges, all of which can double your chance of quitting.
More information on quitting smoking is available at