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J Urban Health. 2012 Oct;89(5):802-8. doi: 10.1007/s11524-012-9683-9.

Changes in smoking prevalence and number of cigarettes smoked per day following the implementation of a comprehensive tobacco control plan in New York City.

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  • 1Bureau of Tobacco Control, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Queens, NY, USA.


The New York City (NYC) Health Department has implemented a comprehensive tobacco control plan since 2002, and there was a 27% decline in adult smoking prevalence in NYC from 2002 to 2008. There are conflicting reports in the literature on whether residual smoker populations have a larger or smaller share of "hardcore" smokers. Changes in daily consumption and daily and nondaily smoking prevalence, common components used to define hardcore smokers, were evaluated in the context of the smoking prevalence decline. Using the NYC Community Health Survey, an annual random digit dial, cross-sectional survey that samples approximately 10,000 adults, the prevalence of current heavy daily, light daily, and nondaily smokers among NYC adults was compared between 2002 and 2008. A five-level categorical cigarettes per day (CPD) variable was also used to compare the population of smokers between the 2 years. From 2002 to 2008, significant declines were seen in the prevalence of daily smoking, heavy daily smoking, and nondaily smoking. Among daily smokers, there is also evidence of population declines in all but the lowest smoking category (one to five CPD). The mean CPD among daily smokers declined significantly, from 14.6 to 12.5. After an overall decline in smoking since 2002, the remaining smokers may be less nicotine dependent, based on changes in daily consumption and daily and nondaily smoking prevalence. These findings suggest the need to increase media and cessation efforts targeted towards lighter smokers.

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