Smoking scare tactics saving lives, $$

Amy Scott Jun 22, 2007

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: A lesson this morning from New York City: Scare tactics work. The city says the number of smokers in the Big Apple has dropped nearly 20 percent in four years. More now from Amy Scott.

Amy Scott: Health officials attribute the drop in smoking to bleak television commercials like this one — a throat cancer survivor cleans the hole in his neck through which he speaks.

Cancer victim in commercial: I was 39 when I got throat cancer from smoking cigarettes…

The city says nine out of 10 smokers saw the ads last year. Higher taxes didn’t hurt either. New York charges $1.50 per pack in taxes, and plans to raise that another 50 cents.

Three years ago, the city banned smoking in most public places. Sarah Perl is assistant commissioner of the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She says all that’s helped save lives.

Sarah Perl: If 240,000 New Yorkers aren’t smoking, that’s 80,000 people who won’t die of a smoking-related illness.

And who won’t clog city hospitals and emergency rooms. The city says it spends more than $4 billion a year on tobacco-related healthcare costs.

In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

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