The city's Health and Hospitals Corp. is setting up information booths today to help smokers quit in every borough but the one where it is most needed: Staten Island, which boasts the city’s highest smoking rate.
In an e-mail campaign this week, the Department of Health, along with HHC, released a list of Great American Smokeout locations in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn where quit-smoking aids will be offered for the one-day event. There were no locations listed for Staten Island.
HHC spokeswoman Pamela McDonnell seemed unaware that Staten Island had been left off the list but said several HHC primary care centers in the borough offer patches and gum at little to no cost. When asked why they weren’t listed, she said that their services are offered year-round and are not tied to today’s event.
Two hospitals on Staten Island, which are not associated with HHC, are hosting their own quit-smoking events today.
It’s a glaring omission, considering city officials have long been frustrated by Staten Island’s stubbornly high smoking rate and have pushed for heavy rotation of health department TV ads in the borough. Last year, it hovered between 17 and 24.5 percent, according to the health department’s Community Health Survey.