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marketing in low-income communities, and will help protect
future generations of Philadelphia's children.

has fallen to 7.2%, there has been a 75% increase in the use of
cheap, often candy flavored cigars and cigarillos since 2011 and
teen use of e-cigarettes has more than tripled during that time.

While the gains in reducing adult and youth tobacco use are
encouraging, there is still critical work to be done. According
to the 2014/15 Household Health Survey and Philadelphia
Department of Public Health Vital Statistics report, 13.7%
percent of children in the city live with an adult who smokes in
the home and are exposed to second hand smoke. Among the
six largest U.S. cities, Philadelphia has the highest rate of death
from lung cancer. Disparities in Philadelphia remain stark with
a smoking prevalence 61% higher among low-income adults
(31.8%) compared to higher income adults (19.5%), and
rates of death from heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke are
significantly higher for black males compared to white males.

Tobacco use continues to be a serious public health problem in
Philadelphia. The Department of Public Health Tobacco Policy
and Control Program and our partners will be continuing our
efforts to employ evidence-based tobacco control strategies to
tackle this problem. However, we can accomplish more together
if we unify our efforts. Health care professionals can ensure that
every patient they care for is screened, assessed, treated, and
discharged with evidence-based tobacco treatment; they can
promote tobacco-free policies in health care settings where they
work and integrate tobacco control into other health initiatives.
Almost every chronic illness has a tobacco-related component and we need to use each health care contact as
an opportunity to address this important risk factor.
I would urge you to join these efforts so that together
we accelerate our journey to a tobacco-free future.

Other populations bearing a greater burden
from tobacco use include veterans, LGBT
individuals and individuals living with mental
illness and substance use disorders, all of whom who
smoke at higher rates than the general population. In fact,
recent data from the Youth Risk Behavioral Survey showed that 42.8%
of gay and bisexual youth use any type of tobacco product compared
to 22.4% of heterosexual youth. Although teen cigarette smoking

©Asya Photography

Ryan Coffman is the manager of the Tobacco Policy and Control Program
for the Philadelphia Department of Health.

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