Instead of just telling smokers where they couldn't smoke, the health department in New York City decided to try something more positive.
The city provided free of charge 6 weeks worth of nicotine patches to smokers who wanted to quit as well as brief follow up phone counseling. That was one year ago and today, those health officials met to look back at what they accomplished.
"One year ago we announced a free nicotine patch program. It was a unique program. We had never done before in NYC and as far as we can tell a program exactly like that has not been done elsewhere in the U.S.," explains Dr. Thomas Frieden, NYC Health Commissioner.
Specifically, here's what the city discovered about the free patch plan, first, that it was successful beyond their highest expectations. They distributed nearly 35,000 free sets of patches to city smokers. Of those, more than 11,000 actually quit which is a success rate of almost a third, double or triple what anyone expected. According to that health department, the numbers translate into at least 1,700 premature deaths prevented