New York Times: Antismoking Measures (Letter to the editor)

(January 9, 2011)

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January 9, 2011

To the Editor:

The federal court decision to reject the regulation requiring all New York City businesses selling tobacco products to post tobacco health warnings is a huge disappointment (“Judge Rejects City Law on Antismoking Posters,” news article, Dec. 30).

The city’s warning signs serve as a reminder for consumers about the harm caused by tobacco products. Health warnings that convey the adverse health effects of tobacco use are shown to be highly effective in motivating smokers to quit and discouraging nonsmokers from starting.

If we do not continue to expand and intensify tobacco control efforts, many will continue to suffer from preventable tobacco-related illness. Elected officials need to step up and fully carry out proven interventions that we know work to reduce tobacco use, decrease exposure to dangerous secondhand smoke and prevent future generations from ever starting.

One way the city can take immediate action is to swiftly pass the proposed legislation that will create smoke-free parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas. When we consider that cigarettes kill 7,500 city residents each year and thousands more are plagued with smoking-related illnesses, including lung disease, it’s clear that major advances in tobacco control are needed.


Scott T. Santarella
President and Chief Executive
American Lung Association in New York
New York, Jan. 5, 2011