Health Department Launches New Anti-Smoking Media Campaign Targeting Male Smokers

In 2017, men were nearly twice as likely to smoke as women, and
their rates have not declined since 2010

Today through Thursday, October 18, New Yorkers who want help to quit smoking
can apply for free nicotine patches and lozenges by going online at or calling 1-866-NY-QUITS

Colon cancer October 3, 2018 – The Health Department today launched a new media campaign to encourage men to quit smoking. In 2017 in New York City, men were nearly twice as likely to smoke as women, and their rates have not declined since 2010. More than one in six men smoke cigarettes (17.5 percent). Quitting smoking lowers the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, cancers, lung disease and other illnesses. The campaign will run on TV, on social media, in newspapers, in the subway, and on the Staten Island Ferry. Today through Thursday, October 18, New Yorkers who want help to quit smoking can apply for free nicotinic patches and lozenges by going online at or calling 1-866-NY-QUITS. Tobacco continues to be a leading cause of preventable, premature death in New York City, killing an estimated 12,000 people annually. While smoking rates in New York City declined from 21.5 percent in 2002 to 13.4 percent in 2017, there are still almost 900,000 adult New Yorkers who smoke. Cigarettes are the only consumer products that – when used as intended – kill up to half of long-term users.

“We’ve made great progress in reducing the number of New York City residents who smoke, but we’ve had less success reaching men than women,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “Smoking is contributing to men dying younger than women, and I hope this media campaign will encourage more New York City men to quit smoking. We’re here to help.”

“I see the devastating daily effects that smoking has on patients and their families. I also know the important benefits of stopping today,” said Deputy Commissioner Dr. Sonia Angell.Colon cancer “Counseling and medication can make a difference and the New York State Smokers’ Quitline is only a call away. This campaign aims to help smokers take that step with the support they need.”

“There is no way around this. Smoking kills. I urge everyone never to smoke, not even to try cigarettes or other tobacco products. Too many people have lost their health and their lives to tobacco. If you never start, you never have to worry about quitting. Life is too important. Please don’t pick up this bad habit. Millions of people have regretted it once it was too late,” said Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz.

“My dad was a serious chain smoker, and he didn't quit until he ran into serious health issues,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “Men can't wait until it's too late. Too many of our brothers, fathers, and sons aren't taking the steps to quit, and it's important we remind them of all the available support. There is help in this city for all New Yorkers to quit smoking for good.”

“Staten Island has a higher percentage of smokers than the citywide average, and subsequently, a higher rate of lung cancer that the citywide average,” said Staten Island Borough President James L. Oddo. “The longer you smoke, the greater your risk of getting cancer and other health problems, so quitting at any point can help improve your quality of life. There are ways to help those who want to quit. I hope some smokers take this moment to take that first step towards quitting.”

Using medications and counseling can double the chances of quitting successfully. Eligible enrollees will receive a four-week supply of nicotine patches or lozenges and a coaching guide. Medicaid also covers a range of cessation medications and counseling, as do most private plans.

Tips to make quitting easier:

  • Find your reasons. Make a list of your reasons for quitting and read it often.
  • Pick a quit date. Choose a day that works for you and gives you time to prepare. Throw out all of your cigarettes beforehand, and get rid of ashtrays and lighters.
  • Get support and encouragement. Tell your family, friends and coworkers that you are quitting and ask for their support.
  • Notice and avoid what triggers cravings. Alcohol, coffee, stress, and being around others who smoke can all trigger cravings. Notice what makes you feel like smoking so that you can avoid those situations, change your routine, and have a plan to deal with your triggers.
  • Keep trying. It takes almost everyone multiple tries to quit smoking, so don’t be afraid to try again. You haven’t failed – you have learned more about your triggers. Throw out your cigarettes and start again.

The 2018 Epi Data Brief (PDF) on smoking among men and boys is available online.

Connect to other resources:

  • Visit and search “NYC Quits.”
  • Download the new NYC HelpMeQuit app from Apple or Google Play stores.
  • Visit and search “Health Map” to find a local quit smoking program.
  • Visit



MEDIA CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Stephanie Buhle, (347) 396-4177