State Health: This Father's Day 216,000 Kids Will be Without Their Dads Due to Smoking Related Deaths

Make this Father's Day Smoke-Free

ALBANY, NY, June 14, 2007 - The State Health Department is reminding dads this Father's Day to remember the important role they play in influencing their children's choices about smoking and in protecting their own health so they can be there for their children.

This Fathers Day, 216,000 children in the United States will be without their dads due to smoking-caused deaths. This year, 1,600 New York children will lose their fathers to a tobacco-caused disease.

"Tobacco use hurts families in so many ways," said State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines M.D. "Children from families with smokers are twice as likely to become smokers themselves, suffer the health consequences of secondhand smoke exposure, and are at risk of losing a loved one – even your own father – to smoking. Quitting smoking is the most important decision you can make for your own health and for the health of your family."

All dads, smokers and non-smokers alike, can celebrate Father's Day by talking to their kids about smoking and taking simple precautions to avoid exposing their children to secondhand smoke.

According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Father's Day Data on Smoking Dads and Related Harms, 23 percent of men in New York are smokers, and New York ranks 30th in the country with 1,610,400 men who smoke. Each year 14,400 New York men die needlessly from smoking.

Exposure to cigarette smoke during childhood can result in increased school absenteeism, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations and may lead to the development of cancer during adulthood.

Secondhand smoke can also prolong and worsen numerous medical conditions, including pneumonia, bronchitis, croup, laryngitis, asthma, flu, ear infections, colds, sinus infections, sore throats, and eye irritation. Babies exposed to secondhand smoke face a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome and a range of other serious health and developmental problems.

Commissioner Daines said he is committed to Governor Spitzer's goal to have 1 million fewer smokers – 900,000 adults and 100,000 children – by the year 2010. Data from 2005 are used for the baseline number of 3,027,785 smokers. Thirty percent of the goal has been reached so far, with 2,688,082 New York smokers in 2006.

"Dads and moms are so important in helping us reach our goal," said Ursula E. Bauer, Ph.D., M.P.H, director of the state's Tobacco Control Program. "By quitting smoking themselves and by increasing the chances their children will grow up tobacco free, parents help make our state even healthier. Nearly 1 million (984,000) adult smokers live with children in the home here in New York. Bringing that number down will move the state dramatically closer to reaching our 2010 goal."

Protecting Children from Secondhand Smoke

  • Keep your home and car smoke-free.
  • Never smoke while holding, feeding, or bathing your child.
  • Never smoke in the car, especially when your child is a passenger.
  • When evaluating daycare centers or babysitters, always ask about smoking.
  • Avoid leaving your child with someone who smokes or in smoky environments.

Protecting Children from Becoming Smokers

  • Talk to your children if you are trying to quit smoking about how addictive smoking is, why you want to quit and how important it is to never start smoking.
  • Make sure your child's school has strong, well-enforced no-smoking rules for students and staff.
  • Listen to what your child says and does about smoking and offer encouragement for good choices.
  • Ask about friends and their attitudes toward smoking. Discuss peer pressure and how to deal with it effectively.

For more information about quitting smoking, please call the New York State Smoker's Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS or 1-866-697-8487 or visit the New York State Smoker's Quitsite on the Web at www.nysmokefree.com.

Father's Day Data on Smoking Dads and Related Harms

States Smoking
Rate
Among
Men
State Rank
Men Smoking
(1st is lowest)
Number of
Men Smokers
Annual Smoking
Deaths Among
Men
Kids in State
Who Have Already
Lost Their Dads
to Smoking
New Kids Who
Lose Their Dads
to Smoking Each
Year
Taxes paid for
SSI Payments
to Kids With
Dads Lost to
Smoking
(millions/year)
Total
State Health
Costs to Treat
Male Smokers
(millions/year)
United States 23.9% -- 26.2 million 240,500 216,000 30,000 $1.9 billion $59.0 billion
Alabama 29.5% 49th 487,800 4,800 4,100 590 $26.7 $983.4
Alaska 27.9% 47th 68,700 200 500 80 $4.4 $105.9
Arizona 22.0% 25th 476,100 3,800 3,900 550 $30.5 $792.2
Arkansas 25.2% 40th 256,300 3,100 2,600 360 $14.0 $517.6
California 19.2% 6th 2,510,700 22,400 21,800 3,000 $226.1 $5,430.7
Colorado 21.6% 21st 378,200 2,500 2,700 380 $29.2 $792.9
Connecticut 16.9% 2nd 215,900 2,600 2,100 300 $31.8 $903.1
Delaware 22.5% 28th 69,900 700 600 90 $6.9 $173.8
Washington, DC 22.9% 29th 46,700 400 500 70 $6.0 $146.3
Florida 24.8% 36th 1,647,300 17,400 14,200 2,000 $95.3 $3,837.0
Georgia 25.0% 38th 819,800 6,600 7,200 1,000 $55.9 $1,447.0
Hawaii 19.3% 7th 92,900 800 700 100 $8.8 $234.2
Idaho 19.7% 11th 103,400 900 900 120 $7.6 $203.4
Illinois 21.2% 18th 978,300 10,300 8,600 1,200 $96.5 $2,511.7
Indiana 29.7% 50th 673,300 5,900 4,700 660 $45.7 $1,273.4
Iowa 21.8% 23rd 243,400 2,900 1,600 220 $20.3 $661.3
Kansas 18.9% 4th 192,000 2,400 1,600 230 $19.1 $591.6
Kentucky 30.6% 51st 473,500 4,800 3,500 490 $24.1 $939.3
Louisiana 24.6% 35th 396,900 4,100 4,900 700 $22.9 $943.8
Maine 22.4% 27th 112,700 1,200 800 110 $7.7 $351.1
Maryland 19.7% 11th 393,300 3,900 4,400 620 $43.2 $1,140.0
Massachusetts 18.1% 3rd 426,100 5,000 3,600 510 $52.1 $1,980.3
Michigan 24.1% 33rd 887,400 8,800 7,600 1,000 $82.6 $2,066.0
Minnesota 21.0% 17th 402,600 3,400 2,400 340 $40.6 $1,273.1
Mississippi 25.9% 44th 268,300 3,100 3,300 460 $15.2 $485.8
Missouri 24.9% 37th 530,400 5,900 5,200 730 $0.0 $1,300.4
Montana 19.3% 7th 69,700 800 700 100 $5.2 $169.9
Nebraska 23.4% 32nd 151,800 1,500 1,000 140 $11.8 $346.9
Nevada 25.2% 40th 229,400 1,800 1,600 230 $12.2 $328.5
New Hampshire 20.4% 13th 99,900 1,000 700 100 $10.4 $322.0
New Jersey 19.6% 10th 616,100 6,600 5,500 780 $80.0 $1,863.5
New Mexico 24.4% 34th 170,700 1,200 1,600 230 $9.9 $281.0
New York 23.0% 30th 1,610,400 14,400 11,700 1,600 $154.9 $4,625.2
North Carolina 25.6% 43rd 813,400 7,500 6,400 910 $54.6 $1,566.5
North Dakota 21.5% 19th 53,200 600 300 50 $4.1 $172.1
Ohio 21.9% 24th 914,900 11,200 7,200 1,000 $77.5 $2,652.2
Oklahoma 26.5% 45th 348,600 3,500 3,200 460 $19.1 $712.5
Oregon 20.6% 16th 283,300 2,900 2,500 360 $24.1 $659.9
Pennsylvania 25.0% 38th 1,147,100 12,000 8,100 1,100 $94.0 $3,130.9
Rhode Island 19.4% 9th 76,500 900 600 80 $7.9 $289.2
South Carolina 25.3% 42nd 391,800 3,800 3,900 560 $25.4 $718.6
South Dakota 20.4% 13th 58,900 700 600 90 $4.4 $190.1
Tennessee 29.3% 48th 646,700 6,000 5,800 820 $39.4 $1,388.3
Texas 23.3% 31st 1,900,300 15,200 18,000 2,500 $127.0 $3,680.2
Utah 13.7% 1st 117,500 700 1,100 160 $12.7 $245.2
Vermont 21.6% 21st 51,500 500 300 50 $4.3 $141.5
Virginia 21.5% 19th 600,100 5,600 4,900 690 $50.8 $1,271.8
Washington 19.1% 5th 454,100 4,400 3,900 550 $45.7 $1,148.3
West Virginia 27.4% 46th 190,000 2,300 1,500 220 $10.3 $419.2
Wisconsin 22.1% 26th 459,100 4,500 2,900 410 $41.9 $1,248.7
Wyoming 20.5% 15th 40,500 400 400 60 $3.2 $82.5
United States 23.9% -- 26.2 million 240,500 216,000 30,000 $1.9 billion $59.0 billion

Men = 18 years and older. Kids = Less than 18 years old.