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April 19, 2017

Vital Strategies applauds new policies aimed at curbing tobacco use in New York City

(New York, USA) – Vital Strategies today congratulated authorities and health advocates in New York City on their work to introduce a series of new policies to curb tobacco use. These policies include raising the minimum price of all tobacco products; reducing through attrition the 9,000 tobacco retailers in NYC; capping the number of e-cigarette retailers and requiring them to have a license; requiring a smoking policy be created and displayed on all residential buildings containing three or more residential units; and banning the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.

José Luis Castro, President and CEO, Vital Strategies, praised the new policies, saying: “New York City has a proud track record in recent years of implementing progressive health policies that protect all citizens and have the effect of reducing health inequalities. Once again, officials have taken a great step forward to protect citizens from the deadly harms of tobacco use, which continues to place a disproportionately heavy burden among the most disadvantaged in our great city. These sensible proposals – such as making tobacco products more unaffordable, especially to kids – will propel NYC’s efforts to reduce tobacco use and improve health among current and future generations. We congratulate Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett and City officials for this latest set of life-saving policies, which will set an example for other cities and countries around the globe.”

The prevalence of adult smokers declined by 33 percent between 2002, when the city started to initiate a series of policy interventions to improve public health, and 2015 (from 21.5 percent to 14.3 percent). In spite of this significant progress, 934,000 adult New Yorkers still smoke and tobacco continues to be a leading contributor to the preventable, premature death of thousands of the city’s citizens each year. The new policies aim to reduce this health and economic burden and are also consistent with the Take Care New York 2020 goal of reducing the number of smokers within the city by 160,000 by 2020.

These policies will reduce the availability and affordability of tobacco products to deter smoking initiation among youth and encourage quitting among current smokers; regulate the sale of e-cigarettes, the use of which is an increasing problem among the city’s youth; and improve a resident’s ability to choose to live in a building where they will not be exposed to secondhand smoke. This is particularly important for families with young children, people with reduced mobility or health issues, and older people. The ban on tobacco sales in pharmacies will send a clear message to consumers that tobacco is incompatible with health. Pharmacy chain CVS previously won acclaim for implementing a ban on tobacco sales in its stores in 2014. Together with existing tobacco control legislation, like bans on smoking in public places and age restrictions on buying tobacco products, these new policies will help to better protect the health of millions of New Yorkers.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that seeks to accelerate progress on the world’s most pressing health problems. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Vital Strategies public health and tobacco control expert, please contact Tracey Johnston, Vital Strategies, at +44.7889.081.170 or tjohnston@vitalstrategies.org

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