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Health Department Seeks To Cut NYC Smoking Rate Even More

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The number of smokers in New York City has dropped to its lowest total in history, but the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is trying to bring it down even farther.

As WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported, Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett is a former smoker herself. She said it took her five tries to put down the smokes.

"Nearly everybody who smokes cigarettes and tries to quit tries more than once, so that's what this campaign is -- meant to be lighthearted and encourage people to keep at it," Bassett said.

Bassett said she smoked a pack a day and started at age 16.

About stopping, she said: "I knew it was going to be hard. Remember, I kept smoking through my medical training, and so I was a smoker, like many smokers, who knew better and still smoked."

The health commissioner proudly declared she has not smoked in 30 years, and said with nicotine replacement therapy and the city's new "Help Me Quit" app, today it is easier to put down the smokes.

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