Newly released data from the city’s Health Department reveals that more New Yorkers now identify themselves as smokers than at any other time since 2007, and that the number of smokers in the city has once again passed the one million mark. This is the third year in a row that the number of smokers in New York has risen, leading city health officials to recognize the spike as being “significant.” It has also probably led former-mayor Bloomberg to smirk knowingly at what fools we all are without his constant supervision, but, well, who are we kidding? He probably does that on an hourly basis anyway.*
Via the Daily News, the increase in smokers has come about in part because while the city’s campaign was effective at getting heavy and long-term smokers to quit, it failed to target the kind of people who only smoke when they drink and never buy packs themselves but instead subsist by bumming the occasional smoke off someone else. In other words, the kind of people who make up literally 90% of the people I know. Because, seriously, even without this official data, it’s been pretty clear anecdotally that more and more people are sneaking (or, actually, not even sneaking) a cigarette or two or three a day without developing a full-blown pack-a-day habit. What I’m saying is, I’m not really surprised by these numbers because for all the people I know who’ve quit smoking completely in the last few years, many have just become more moderate in their tobacco intake, or have picked smoking up again, only to a much smaller degree.
But so as it turns out, the people I know? They’re the problem! Or maybe they’re not a problem and are just human and sometimes indulge in something that is not good for them at all, but, you know, what is? No! They’re a problem! At least they are according to the city of New York, which is now launching a new $830,000 campaign targeting light smokers that will be called “Imagine for Life.” The campaign will feature commercials showing young people with hacking coughs and the like, but, well, we kind of doubt they’re efficacy already because commercials? Who watches commercials? Certainly not the Millennials that the campaign is attempting to target. Oh, well. Nothing will ever be more disturbing and effective than those subway posters with the glass full of pure fat. Nothing.
*And, yes, we know the numbers started to rise under his tenure, but let’s face it, every good thing that ever happened on Bloomberg’s watch was because of him and every bad thing was in spite of him. Right? Uh, right.
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