Number Of Smokers In New York City Up, Anti-Smoking Funding Down

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The number of smokers in New York City has risen, as government spending to fight the habit has dropped.

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, you may remember the anti-smoking public service messages on TV – one featuring a woman whose fingers had been amputated, another showing a man speaking through a mechanical voice box.

The ads the result of a major crusade by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But now, the funding for anti-smoking efforts has dropped and the number of smokers has risen, according to a study.

“Spending was pretty high. It peaked at almost $16 million in 2008, and then in more recent years, in 2011, 2012, 2013, spending has gone down about a third from where that peak was,” said Independent Budget Office policy analyst Erin Kelly.

Kelly said smoking rates were at their lowest in 2010, and have risen in the last three years or so.

“There is a bit of a lag where we think people are going through the process of quitting, and then you have kind of the effects of programs, which last a little bit longer,” she said.

A total of $7 million is budgeted for anti-smoking efforts in the coming spending plan.

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