July 24, 2013 is the tenth anniversary of New York’s Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA). The CIAA addresses the deadly health effects of secondhand smoke. It prohibits smoking in workplaces, bars, restaurants, bowling facilities, taverns, and bingo halls. Lives have been saved and millions of New Yorkers have reaped the health benefits of smoke-free workplaces in the last ten years. Unfortunately, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in New York.
Smoking is still killing Americans at an alarming rate; more than 400,000 every year. The vast majority of adult smokers (90%) began smoking as teenagers and 70% of them would like to quit. They know continuing to smoke increases their risk of heart disease, lung disease, and cancer. Why don’t they quit? Because nicotine is extremely addictive. If we hope to decrease the number of smokers in the future, we must find ways to prevent kids from becoming addicted to nicotine today.