Lung Association: NYC Smoking Data Shows Tobacco Tax Working

NEW YORK, NY (07/10/2008)(readMedia)-- The American Lung Association of New York today pointed to data released by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as evidence that the tobacco tax increase is working. In effect since June 3, 2008, the total tobacco tax of $2.75 is the highest in the nation and makes New York State the national public health leader in tobacco taxation. In New York City, an additional $1.50 cigarette tax makes the total tax $4.75 throughout the five boroughs.

"Making smoking expensive and inconvenient is a recipe for more smokers quitting and fewer teens starting," said Michael Seilback, Vice President, Public Policy & Communications. "The increased tobacco tax is giving smokers the extra push they need to quit."

According to data released today, and available at, more than 2,700 New York smokers called the city's 311 help line the first week in June. This is a staggering increase from the roughly 850 smokers who called during the same period in 2007.

This promising news comes on the heels of recent data which shows a decline in smoking rates for high school students in New York City. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of high school smoking in NYC declined from 11.2 percent in 2005 to 8.5 percent for 2007.

Additionally, smoking just got harder on college campuses as Governor Paterson this week signed legislation which prohibits smoking in all dormitories on State University campuses, and in all dormitories and other group residential facilities of private colleges and universities in New York.