FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 037-15
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Christopher Miller/Veronica Lewin:
(347) 396-4177, firstname.lastname@example.org
Health Department Releases Highlights From the 2014 Community Health Survey
Smoking prevalence has declined by 35% since 2002
September 16 , 2015 - The Health Department today announced that the adult smoking prevalence has declined and that the prevalence of adults without health insurance is one of the lowest in the past decade. These data - highlights from the 2014 Community Health Survey - show that 13.9% of New York City adults are current smokers. This represents a 35% decline in smoking from the 2002 prevalence when comprehensive tobacco control was put in place, and is one of the lowest prevalence rates of smoking on record in New York City. The 2014 smoking prevalence represents a 14% decline in smoking from the 2013 prevalence of 16.1%. It is estimated that there are now fewer than 900,000 adult smokers in New York City. This decrease is in line with the recently-announced New York State prevalence decrease to 14.5% and the downward national trend in smoking rates.
The data also show that the 2014 prevalence of New York City adults without health insurance is 13.8%. This represents a 34% decrease from an uninsured prevalence of 20.9% in 2013, the year before health insurance coverage became more accessible and affordable for many Americans as part of the Affordable Care Act. It’s estimated that there are now fewer than 900,000 uninsured adults in New York City, compared with 1,324,000 adults just one year ago. This is one of the lowest prevalence rates of uninsured adults in the past decade and a significant decrease after several years of a steady increase from 2008 to 2013 (15.2% to 20.9%). The Community Health Survey is a cross-sectional telephone survey that gives a comprehensive look at the health of New Yorkers. Additional 2014 data will be added to the Health Department’s website before the end of this year. Last year’s data can be found here: www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/data/survey.shtml.
“While we have made strides in reducing the number of smokers in New York City and increasing health insurance enrollment, we have much more work to do when it comes to reducing health disparities,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. “Far too many New Yorkers in communities of color live with obesity, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases. We will continue our work to ensure that every resident has adequate access to health care coverage and the opportunity to live a healthy life.
Comprehensive Tobacco Control in New York City, which includes strong laws, smoking cessation services, and hard-hitting media campaigns, has been an important driver of reductions in cigarette smoking. The 2014 decline in the smoking rate is understood to be a continuation of the overall decline New York City has experienced since 2002. Despite overall declines, disparities in smoking prevalence exist and persist by education (those with less than a college education smoke at far higher rates than those with a college education or more), gender (men smoke at higher rates than women), and household income (smoking rates are higher among those in the lowest income category compared with the highest income category).
There was a significant decrease from 2013 (26.2% to 17.8%) in adults without health insurance whose annual household incomes were less than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. Individuals who are under this income level have access to financial subsidies to purchase insurance or public health insurance. Hispanic New Yorkers have the highest 2014 uninsured prevalence (22.6%), compared with all other racial/ethnic groups. Since 2014, the Health Department, in partnership with the Human Resources Administration, launched two city-wide campaigns to encourage New Yorkers to sign up for a health insurance plan through the New York State of Health Marketplace, made available through the Affordable Care Act. The multi-lingual campaigns were designed to reach low-income uninsured populations and included multi-media ads, a texting resource and volunteer and community outreach to help spread the campaign’s message.
“These impressive increases in coverage bring with them the promise of better health for thousands of New Yorkers, but we’re not done yet,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Prevention and Primary Care. “Many remain without insurance, and these include populations where health inequities persist. The Health Department is committed to working towards reduced barriers to care for all residents of New York City.
Certain chronic diseases, including obesity and high blood pressure, have remained at high rates for the last several years. According to the 2014 Community Health Survey, 24.7% of adult New Yorkers are obese. The survey also revealed that 27.8% of adults have ever been told by a healthcare professional that they have high blood pressure. High blood pressure, or hypertension, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease - the leading cause of death both nationally and in New York City. To reduce cardiovascular disease in New York City, the Board of Health recently approved a measure that requires chain food service establishments to post warning labels on menus and menu boards identifying items with 2,300 mg or more of sodium and also informing consumers of the risk of high sodium intake. An overwhelming majority of scientific evidence shows that reducing high sodium consumption is an important component to addressing cardiovascular disease.
Collected since 2002, the Community Health Survey is a cross-sectional telephone survey that gives a comprehensive look at the health of adult New Yorkers. Approximately 8,500 randomly selected adults aged 18 and older from all five boroughs of New York City are sampled annually. Interviews are conducted over landline and cell phones in English, Spanish, Russian, and Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese). Community Health Survey results are analyzed and disseminated in order to track the health of New Yorkers, inform health program decisions, and contribute to the understanding of the relationship between health behavior and health status.
*Please see tables below for detailed Community Health Survey data*