As the number of smokers in NYC has dropped, so has the number of people dying from smoking-related causes, or so says the "what can we get away with?" Health Department. A new analysis by the agency shows smoking-related deaths have declined by 17% during the past decade—from approximately 8,700 in 2002 to about 7,200 in 2009. Cardiovascular disease is down 27%, cancer is down 9%, and respiratory disease is down 12%! But don't break out the champagne and cigars just yet...

Health Department Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says "Smoking still kills more than 7,000 New Yorkers each year, and thousands more will suffer smoking-induced strokes, heart attacks, debilitating lung diseases and cancers. It’s never too late to quit smoking. We want to help smokers to do just that." That's why the Bloomberg administration is moving to ban smoking in public parks, pedestrian plazas, beaches and boardwalks. In phase two of the crackdown, one out of every 100 packs of cigarettes will be required to include an exploding cigarette, to make an example of recalcitrant smokers who aren't getting with the program.