Fewer New York adults are smoking than ever before in recorded history.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that adult smoking rates have declined by 22 percent since 2011. As of 2016, the average statewide adult smoking rate was 14.2 percent, below the national average of 15.5 percent.
"These record lows demonstrate that New York's anti-smoking efforts are working," said Governor Cuomo. "Reducing smoking -- and the death and misery that come with it -- is critical to protecting public health and we will continue our work to create a safer and healthier New York for all."
The smoking rates are determined by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual statewide telephone survey of adults developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and administered by the New York State Department of Health.
The survey found that smoking rates have also fallen dramatically among young adults between ages 18-24 years. In 2016 only 11.7 percent of this age group reported smoking, down from 21.6 percent in 2011.
A further analysis of this age group found the following trends among certain groups:
- Individuals with less than a high school education, where the smoking rate decreased 25 percent - from 25.7 percent in 2011 to 19.2 percent in 2016;
- Individuals with annual household incomes below $25,000 where the smoking rate decreased 29 percent - from 27.8 percent in 2011 to 19.8 percent in 2016; and
- Individuals with poor mental health -- defined as reported problems with stress, depression or emotions on at least 14 of the previous 30 days -- where the smoking rate decreased 20 percent - from 32.6 percent in 2011 to 26.0 percent in 2016.
Governor Cuomo previously announced that the high school smoking rate fell to a historic low of 4.3 percent in 2016, down from 27.1 percent in 2000. However, the Department of Health also found that e-cigarette use by high school students nearly doubled between 2014 and 2016 when 20.6 percent of student reported using e-cigarettes.
In 2017, it became illegal for anyone to use e-cigarettes on school grounds or indoors where other tobacco-related smoking is already banned.