April 9, 2015

Press Release # 016-15
Thursday, April 9, 2015

MEDIA CONTACT: (347) 396-4177
Christopher Miller/Veronica Lewin: PressOffice@health.nyc.gov

DOHMH Debuts Anti-Smoking Ad Featuring Bronx Resident

Beth has an irreversible smoking-related illness, COPD, which has made her day-to-day activities, such as climbing stairs, much more difficult

April 9, 2015  – In response to the increasing smoking rate, the Health Department today announced a new ad campaign featuring a New Yorker who is battling a smoking-related illness. The ads tell the story of a woman named Beth, a former smoker from the Bronx who quit smoking after being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is an incurable, chronic disease associated with smoking. She formerly led a very active lifestyle that included biking and dancing. Since being diagnosed with COPD, Beth now has trouble with many routine activities, including climbing stairs, taking a shower and getting dressed. The ads will be on subways, and there will also be TV spots aired on local stations.

“Beth’s story is a poignant reminder that the time to quit is now,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “All of the Health Department’s ads show the real impact smoking has on the life of a real person. The truth about smoking isn’t just in the statistics – it touches real lives and real families.”

Since 2007, the number of smokers in New York City has increased steadily. Today, there are over 1 million smokers living in the five boroughs. The smoking rate in the Bronx, where Beth lives, is 16.1 percent. Smoking is the leading cause of premature, preventable death in New York City and kills an estimated 12,000 New Yorkers a year. It is devastating to health and causes cancer, heart and lung diseases, like COPD. Smoking also has a causal relationship to diabetes, ectopic pregnancies, rheumatoid arthritis and many other health consequences.

“I don’t want others to suffer from the results of smoking the way I have,” said Bronx resident Beth, whose story is featured in the ads. “My life is different now because of COPD, and I can’t change that, but I hope others will learn from my experience and quit for good.” 

The most important step a smoker can take to improve his or her health is to quit smoking. Help is available to all New Yorkers who want to quit by calling 311, 1-866-NYQUITS or by visiting nysmokefree.com. Free medications and counseling are available. Using these services can make smokers twice as likely to successfully quit smoking.

To view the new ads visit NYCHealth YouTube page .