Congrats, everyone! In terms of things that kill us, smoking is no longer such a biggie, says the New York City Health Department. Smoking-related deaths are down 17 percent from the past decade, with a mere 7,200 expiring on account of the nic in 2009. (Back in 2002, that number was at 8,722.)
At the same time, the New York City adult smoking rate has fallen 27 percent, which the city wants you to think implies a correlation. More quitters, less deaths, etc. But the fact is, we have no idea whether the people who died were quitters or not, and what’s with that mysterious 10 percent? Sure sucks to quit if you’re just going to die anyway.
Except…we’re all going to die of something, although we hate to admit it. Dying of smoking would suck (especially since we don’t smoke…well, only sometimes when we drink), but dying in a plane crash caused by a stampede caused by an escapee crocodile, or even just dying in a regular plane crash, is a bit higher on our list of How Not to Die. But that’s just us.
The city feels that the death rate will continue to fall for many years, as they maintain their “aggressive anti-tobacco initiatives” (like no smoking in bars, workplaces, and restaurants, and maybe not even beaches and parks; annual giveaways of nicotine patches and gum; and really vile ads that showcase how you might lose your fingers and have holes cut in your throat and be forced to talk in funny voices and other gross things if you smoke) and we New Yorkers “reap the long-term health benefits of not smoking.”
If we quit, will you stop making us watch those ads? That would be a distinct long-term health benefit.