Manhattan, a No-Smoking Zone

And now for some good news. Extraordinary news, really. According to a survey conducted by the City Department of Health, only 14 percent of city residents are smokers. That’s below the national average of about 19 percent. But wait—there’s even better news. Only 7 percent of the city’s high school students are smokers. Seven percent!

Cigarettes are on their way to becoming artifacts of another time in New York history, and all of us are the beneficiaries. The costs of smoking—in health costs and lives lost—are astronomical. The end of smoking as we knew it means that we are living in a healthier, smarter city.

Much of the credit for these extraordinary numbers must go to Mayor Bloomberg, whose antismoking efforts have been unstinting and even—amazingly enough—controversial. Critics of the mayor’s ban on smoking in restaurants and bars warned of economic catastrophe. They insisted that the mayor was an agent of the so-called “nanny state.”

Mr. Bloomberg ignored the critics, and rightly so. His administration sponsored graphic, chilling television commercials showing the appalling effects of cigarette smoke—a woman whose circulation problems led to amputations, a man breathing through a hole in his neck. The ads should have been enough to persuade all but the addicted and the defiant to give up the butts.

The results of this in-your-face public health campaign are now clear. The cigarette culture is dying in New York. Sure, there are holdouts in some places, but even Staten Island, long a bastion of nicotine use, is giving up the habit.

All of the numbers are good, but the most heartening figure is the low number of children who smoke. A decade ago, some 18 percent of teenagers in the city smoked. The reduction to 7 percent no doubt has something to do with the cost of cigarettes—more than $11 a pack, thanks to heavy taxes—but the new bans on smoking and the city’s antismoking ads have clearly played a role too.

The romance and defiance associated with the cigarette belong to another era. Smoking kills. New York has gotten the message, thanks in part to City Hall’s aggressive campaign. Well done.


  1. anti-nanny protester says:

    Next he will ban smoking on the sidewalks!
    This city will be so Disneyfied that they can start chargibg admission
    to see the inmates!
    Bloomberg continues to fulfill his own agenda.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am a Texan for 22 years, a 36 year physician, specializing inemergency medicine. I am familiar with the public health science onsecond hand smoke. I can say with confidence that second hand smokemay irritate some, but it does not kill. Those claiming thousands ofdeaths from second hand smoke to the public are deceitful for apolitical goal.
    Public Health Studies cited by the Cancer Society and the SurgeonGeneral that claim thousands of deaths from second hand smoke areweak, cherry-picked studies. Their supporters compound their perfidyby ignoring studies by the World Health Organization (Buffetta 1998in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute), Stranges, 2006 inArchives of Internal Medicine and Enstrom 2003 in The British MedicalJournal, that show no second hand smoke effect.
    In science, one study that disproves a scientific theory is moreimportant than a pile of studies that are slightly positive. Anti-smoking advocates and fanatics ignore that basic rule and ignore anystudy they don’t like. They are propagandists, not scientists.
    The crusaders are willing to do anything and say anything aboutsecond hand smoke, including making public statements about thousandsof deaths from second hand smoke. Those claims are multifarious andduplicitous—they are lies. Second hand smoking, even for the spouseof a smoker is one cigarette or less per day—which has no effect.The second hand smoke scare is a phantom menace conjured up by theHigh Holy Church of Smoke Haters to support the anti smokingcrusade…
    Smoking Bans violate the Ohio tradition of mind your own business.If the Ohio General Assembly thinks it has a role in telling peoplehow to live, they should get a Divinity Degree and find acongregation. Folks in Ohio can easily avoid second hand smoke, andemployment in a bar or restaurant is voluntary. Smoking is legal.Avoiding smoke is easy.
    John Dale Dunn MD JD
    Policy AdvisorAmerican Council on Scienceand Health,NYC, and the Heartland Institute, Chicago.

  3. Anonymous says:

    A letter from a doctor on shs
    Robert E. Madden MD, FACS. I am also a non-smoker. HOWEVER I am a passionate opponent smoking bans. Most of the opposition to the smoking bans has been based upon economic factors such as loss of business revenue, even closings. My opposition is due to loss of individual freedom and abuse of scientific fact.
    I am a practicing chest surgeon, a teacher and a former cancer researcher. I am also past president of the NY Cancer Society. I will not tell you that smoking is harmless and without risk, in fact one in eight hundred smokers will develop lung cancer. Asthmatics should avoid tobacco smoke. What I will say is: 1) it’s a personal choice and 2) so called second smoke (ETS) is virtually harmless. One may not like the smell but it has not been shown to cause cancer, even in bartenders. If people do not like the odor then they may go elsewhere. Those who support the ban have no right to deny 24% of the adult population their enjoyment of a popular product based on dislike, possibly hatred of smoking. This attitude is that of a bigot, akin to anti-Semitism or racism.
    To me the most offensive element of the smoking bans is the resort to science as “proving that environmental smoke, second hand smoke, causes lung cancer”. Not only is this unproven but there is abundant and substantial evidence to the contrary. It is frustrating, even insulting, for a scientist like myself to hear the bloated statistics put out by the American Cancer Society (of which I am a member) and the American Lung Association used to justify what is best described as a political agenda. Smokers enjoy smoking. Most non-smokers are neutral. Anti-smokers hate smoking. It is this last group that drives the engine of smoking bans. Smoking sections in restaurants, ventilated bars and the like have been satisfactory and used for years. To those who choose to smoke they do so at their own risk. To those eschew smoking let them patronize establishments whose owners prohibit smoking. To impose a city wide or a state wide ban is to deny people of their rights.
    Respectfully,Robert E. Madden, M.D…

    1. EMC says:

      The smoke haters will contest these and 5 million other documents from credible physicians and health practitioners.This group has so much influence, including the American Cancer Society, that the freedom of choice is lost forever. Our country is now headed into such a controlling society that it is quite frightening.Every day some new phobia or prohibition finds its way into our lives. Last week, a group of parents protested against playground equipment in a NYC park claiming that the children were exposed to bacteria……it’s insanity!
      We are living in an era of unbridled Social Engineering, legislating away anything that is deemed unacceptable by the politically correct. behavior and wasting the time and money of all tax payers.

  4. Guest says:

    It’s pretty shocking to see a major (for NYC) newspaper endorse fascism.

  5. SEO Services says:

    That is good news for Manhattan Citizens. I think they have good health. They can be set an example for citizens of other cities. Citizens of Manhattan city should continued positive report.