On 'Great American Smokeout', State Health Commissioner Urges Parents Who Smoke to Quit

Smokers with Children 60% More Likely to Want to Quit "A Lot"

Note: Commissioner Daines is available for comment on this story

ALBANY, N.Y. ( Nov. 19, 2008 ) - Citing new data showing that smokers living with children are more likely to try to quit smoking than those without children, State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. today urged parents to observe the American Cancer Society's 33rd Great American Smokeout on Thursday by quitting.

"If your own health and wellbeing aren't motivation enough, then quit for your children," said Commissioner Daines. "Every day is a good day to quit, but why not join thousands of other New Yorkers on Thursday who will be throwing out their cigarettes for the Great American Smokeout."

Dr. Daines stressed that multiple studies have confirmed that children exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear infections, and more severe asthma compared with children not exposed to secondhand smoke.

"The good news is that new data illustrates that children are a strong incentive for many parents to quit smoking," said Dr. Daines. "And since we're approaching the holiday season and money is particularly tight this year, quitting is a great gift you can give to yourself and your children. Not only is it free, it saves you money."

Among New York's approximately 2.7 million smokers, about 1 million, or 40 percent, live with children in the household. Data collected and analyzed by the State Health Department showed that 76 percent of smokers with children tried to quit smoking because of the effect of smoke on others and were 60 percent more likely to want to quit "a lot."

The study also showed that:

  • 42 percent of smokers with children prohibit smoking in the home, compared with 26 percent of smokers without children; and,
  • 29 percent of smokers with children prohibit smoking in the car, compared with 21 percent of smokers without children.

"Being a quitter is a good thing. In fact, it's one of the best things someone can do for their health and for their wallet," said Donald Distasio, CEO of the American Cancer Society of NY & NJ. "The Great American Smokeout is the perfect time to quit and, thanks to a strong tobacco control program, New York State has valuable resources available to make that quit attempt a success and to make that thin wallet a little fatter."

"Quitting smoking isn't easy, and most smokers require multiple attempts before they are successful," said Jeffrey G. Willett, Ph.D., director of the state's Tobacco Control Program. "The New York State Smokers' Quitline along with advice and assistance from the medical community are there to give smokers the resources and reassurance they need to quit successfully."

New Yorkers who want to quit are urged to call the New York State Smokers' Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS or 1-866-697-8487. The Quitline provides free coaching, quit plans, tips and information. Free nicotine patches, gum and lozenges are also available to eligible smokers by visiting the Quitline website at www.nysmokefree.com.


  • On average, smokers die 14 years younger than non-smokers.
  • Smoking increases a person's risk of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and other cancers.
  • Second-hand smoke also causes heart disease and cancer and contributes to asthma and other respiratory illness.
  • Infants with a parent who smokes are more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
  • Babies and children exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to have asthma, bronchitis, ear infections, and pneumonia.
  • Smokers who quit rapidly lower their risk of heart disease and stroke and steadily reduce their risk of lung cancer.

Tips on Quitting

  • Set a quit date and mark it on your calendar. Get rid of ashtrays, lighters and cigarettes.
  • Visit your doctor for support and advice with your quit plan.
  • Make a list of reasons why you want to quit.
  • Make a list of family and friends who will support you.
  • Avoid triggers, including alcohol, caffeine and other smokers.
  • Exercise to relieve stress, and improve you mood health. Try a brisk 30-minute walk at least four days a week
  • Consider using a safe nicotine alternative such as replacement patches, gum or lozenges, which can double your chance of quitting.

New York State Health Department Study