Free Nicotine Patches for NYC

On May 5, 2005, New York City offered free nicotine patches to the first 45,000 eligible smokers who called their hotline. The NYC Health Department received an $8 Million donation of patches from Pfizer to Help New Yorkers Quit Smoking.

What I have to wonder is why we aren’t seeing a program such as this in every state across the nation? After all the states divided a huge pot of money from the tobacco settlement in 1998, that is expected to net over $246 billion over a 25 year span. That loot is being used primarily for marketing.

In fact,
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids charged that tobacco companies spend $23 to market products for every $1 states spend on tobacco prevention.

The report goes on to say that, "States that have properly funded tobacco prevention programs have produced dramatic declines in tobacco use. Maine reduced smoking by 48 percent among high school students and 59 percent among middle school students between 1997, when it launched its tobacco prevention program, in 2003."

It’s a shame that the tobacco settle funds are being used to market universal preschool programs here in California, instead of being put to good use helping people who want to quit smoking. After all a large percentage of people who smoke also have children in the home. One would think that protecting a child’s health would trump free daycare but not in California.

Perhaps if cigarette taxes didn’t provide such a huge incentive for states, many of whom have become dependent on the revenue, we would see real assistance provided to those so inclined to break the habit.