New York City - to ask public opinion - smoking graphic warning signs..

June 25, 2009 - The New York City (NYC) Board of Health wants to introduce a new anti-smoking amendment, but they wants the the public's opinion first.

New Yorkers are being called upon to give their opinion in a public hearing on July 30 on a new Health Code amendment that would put graphic anti-smoking warnings wherever tobacco products are sold. The warnings would include images depicting the adverse health effects of smoking and information on how to quit.

The measure, which is expected to be voted on in September, would require the city's 12,000 tobacco retailers to display these large "point-of-sale warnings and cessations messages" at eye-level wherever tobacco products are displayed and at the point of purchase is made, such as a cash register. It is also described as the first regulation of its kind in the nation.

According to the Health Department, these displays will force the customer to see the health effects of smoking and visually contemplate their tobacco purchase. They say the signage also promotes a greater understanding of the toll tobacco takes on the body and encourage current smokers to quit. "While the tobacco industry spends billions of dollars every year to glamorize smoking, we will show New Yorkers the harsh realities," Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, stated, "These warning signs will help persuade smokers to quit and show children why they shouldn't start smoking."

But Mohamed Shody, mignight manager of midtown Manhattan's Omniall Deli said to PIX News, "It's never going to stop people from buying cigarettes because the smokes cannot quit immediately. It takes a long time. And, by the way, I'm a smoker too and it's not going to affect me."

The new signs also targets the city's youth population. Most smokers start taking puffs during their adolescence and by age 19. According to the Health Department, two-third of that group become daily smokers. Nearly 2 million of the city's 8.3 million residents are under the age of 18, according to the Department of City Planning.

The city recorded its lowest adult smoking rate in 2008, with only 15.8% of New Yorkers smoking. But the Health Department says that there are still 950,000 New Yorkers who smoke. About 7,400 New York City residents die from tobacco-related illnesses each year, which is more than the death toll of AIDS, homicide, suicide and drug-related deaths combined.

Farley: "Smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in New York City."

The proposal is the latest from New York City's ongoing campaign to help New Yorkers quit smoking. The Health Department's television ad campaign, for example, include commericals with children, surgical procedures and testimonials from a man who was left with a hole in his throat from throat cancer and a woman who had to have her fingers amputated.

Reference: Public Opinion Sought For Graphic Anti-Smoking Measure
The new Health Code amendment would require tobacco retailers to put graphic warnings in their stores
by SHELLEY NG,, 6/25/2009.

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June 25, 2009 at 9:36 PM

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