March 4, 2015

Press Release # 010-15
Wednesday, March 4, 2015

MEDIA CONTACT: (347) 396-4177
Veronica Lewin:

Health Department Debuts Powerful Anti-Smoking Ad, “Last Dance”

New ad shows the impact smoking-related illness has on families

March 4, 2015 - This week, the Health Department debuts “Last Dance,” a powerful anti-smoking ad produced in Australia by Quit Victoria. The ad depicts a man dying from smoking-related cancer having a last dance with his wife while their child looks on. The new ad depicts the harsh truth about smoking – it not only devastates the health of smokers, but also families who must care for the smoker and are ultimately left behind to mourn the loss of their loved one. The ad ends by asking smokers to quit smoking today.

Since 2006, New York City has aired a number of cutting-edge educational campaigns, produced here and in other jurisdictions, to encourage smokers to quit. The City’s efforts have been successful in motivating New Yorkers to make more than 700,000 requests for assistance in quitting over the last nine years. However, after many years of declines in smoking rates, the current rate of adult smokers has increased from 14 percent – its lowest point – in 2010 to 16.1 percent in 2013. There are currently over 1 million smokers in New York City.

“As smoking rates begin to increase in New York City, the use of powerful media campaigns is more important than ever,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. “Quitting smoking is one of the most important steps one can take to improve their health. We encourage every smoker to use this campaign as a reason to quit smoking today.”

New York City has been a leader in producing and airing anti-smoking ads. Like New York City, Quit Victoria has a long and successful history of motivating smokers to quit through powerful media campaigns. The World Lung Foundation, an international organization doing tobacco control work around the world, has adapted New York City and Quit Victoria campaigns for use in many other countries.

“NYC is an inspiring and effective leader in tobacco control. One of the hallmarks of its success is the use of hard hitting mass media campaigns, the only types that work and have been proven to contribute to saving lives,” said Sandra Mullin, Senior Vice President of Policy and Communication, World Lung Foundation. “Mass media campaigns drive population-level behavior change in a cost-effective way.”

Smoking remains the leading cause of premature, preventable death in New York City. It is devastating to health, and causes cancer, heart disease, emphysema and many other illnesses. Each year, there are an estimated 12,000 smoking-related deaths in New York City. Free medications and counseling are available to those who call 311, 1-866-NY-QUITS, or visit

View the new ad on the NYCHealth YouTube page .