NEW YORK, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- From 2002 to 2009, the smoking rate in New York City dropped by 27 percent, saving an estimated 6,300 lives, city health officials say.
Dr. Thomas Farley, city health commissioner, says the biggest reductions in smoking-related mortality occurred in cardiovascular disease, which was down 27 percent. Cancer was down 9 percent and respiratory disease was down 12 percent.
New York state had banned smoking in public places since 1987, but smoking areas were allowed in some places such as bars, restaurants and bowling alleys. In 2002, the city Smoke-Free Air Act eliminated smoking in virtually all New York City workplaces, including bars and restaurants. Since 2003, the city distributed nicotine patches and gum to 250,000 New York City smokers helping some 80,000 to quit smoking, Farley says.
Since 2006, the city has highlighted harmful effects of tobacco smoke.
"We have reduced the number of adult smokers by 350,000 and prevented thousands of premature deaths," Farley says in a statement.
"This is good news, but smoking still kills more than 7,000 New Yorkers each year, and thousands more will suffer smoking-induced strokes, heart attacks, debilitating lung diseases and cancers. It's never too late to quit smoking. We want to help smokers to do just that."