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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
April 12, 2006

Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Gretchen Michael
609-984-7160
Donna Leusner
609-984-7160


 
New Jersey Department Of Health and Senior Services Announce Plans To Implement Smoke-Free Air Act


 

New Public/Private Partnership Pledges to Help All Smokers Who Want to Quit

 

In preparation for the April 15 enactment of New Jersey’s landmark Smoke-Free Air Act, the state Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) is joining forces with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the state’s premiere health advocacy organizations in a statewide public education campaign.

 

“This new law is one of the most significant public health measures in our state’s history,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine. “This pubic education campaign is designed to raise awareness of the new law and services that are available to help smokers quit.’’

 

Health and Senior Services Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D. said the campaign “emphasizes that prohibiting smoking in indoor places is clearly in the best interest of the public’s health.”

 

The “Smoke-Free New Jersey: A Breath of Fresh Air” campaign, funded with an initial $380,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, features direct mail to employers and businesses; billboard and print ads; and advertising on buses, the Internet and radio. The radio ads began running statewide yesterday.

 

The Department’s website includes a new web page, www.smokefree.nj.gov, and a web-based resource center which allows people to download the new law, fact sheets, signage and educational presentations. There is also a link on the site to www.NJQuit2Win.com, the web-based guide to the department’s smoking cessation services.

 

New Jersey families and workers can look forward to breathing easier and living healthier thanks to the Smoke-Free Air Act,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We’re pleased and proud to work with our partners to ensure that the health benefits are realized by citizens and businesses throughout the state.”

 

Additionally, in anticipation of a significant increase in the demand for smoking cessation services as a result of the new law, the NJDHSS started a $200,000 radio advertising campaign to increase awareness of NJ Quitline, the state’s free telephone counseling service to help smokers quit.  This campaign is part of a partnership with the American Cancer Society Eastern Division, the American Lung Association of New Jersey, and the American Heart Association-Heritage Affiliate to help smokers quit. This campaign, called “Be Smoke Free in New Jersey: Quit 2 Win,” builds on a campaign that the Department began in February 2005.

 

New Jersey is the 11th state to enact smoke-free air legislation to ensure safer workplaces and indoor public places. The other states include California, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Montana, Vermont and Washington.

 

Up to 62,000 adult nonsmokers die each year in the United States from secondhand smoke, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  This includes between 1,000 and 1,800 New Jersey residents.

 

“This new law will reduce illness and premature mortality through decreased exposure to secondhand smoke,’’ said Commissioner Jacobs. “It will also have tremendous long-term health benefits for future generations as fewer and fewer young people are exposed to secondhand smoke on the job.”

 

In addition to creating healthier work environments, other states that have implemented smoke-free air laws have achieved reductions in adult smoking rates well above the national average of four percent. New York State, which implemented its Clean Indoor Air law in 2003, experienced a 12 percent drop in smoking rates between 2003 and 2004, a strong indication that smoke-free air laws in combination with high cigarette taxes and effective smoking prevention and smoking cessation programs can accelerate reductions in smoking.   

 

New York City reported an 11 percent decrease in smoking rates in the first year after its law was implemented, indicating that many smokers were motivated to quit as a result of the law.  This was the most dramatic drop in smoking rates in the city’s history. 

 

An Internet poll of 500 New Jersey smokers conducted in March 2006 on behalf of the Department of Health and Senior Services revealed that nearly three-fourths of smokers polled said they want to quit. Moreover, 13 percent said they are anticipating the implementation of the smoking ban by planning a quit date.

 

Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including 200 known poisons and, according to the National Cancer Institute, 69 known and probable cancer-causing substances.  Secondhand smoke exacerbates pediatric asthma.  Infants exposed to secondhand smoke are at greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and pregnant women who smoke risk having lower birth-weight babies.

 

  “Most smokers need help to quit smoking, and will significantly improve their chances of success by using the assistance of a Quit service,’’ Commissioner Jacobs said.

 

The Be Smoke Free in New Jersey: Quit 2 Win program urges physicians, employers, and labor union leaders to take the lead in informing smokers among their patients, employees and members about the tools and quit-smoking services that are available to help smokers quit, including New Jersey’s free Quit Services: NJ QuitNet® (www.NJ.QuitNet.com) and NJ Quitline (1-866-NJ-STOPS); and the low-cost NJ Quitcenters, face-to-face counseling clinics (locations available on NJ QuitNet).

 

This initiative will help physicians improve the health of their patients who smoke by helping them quit. The partnership calls on physicians to conduct 30-second interventions with patients who smoke through a 2A’s + R process (Ask, Advise and Refer): Ask patients if they smoke, Advise smokers to quit and Refer them to the NJ Quit Services and NJQuit2Win.com. Downloadable materials on the Web site are available to help physicians.

 

The campaign partners will be disseminating information about these initiatives in their ongoing publications and programs.

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