The number of smokers in New York state is at the lowest level in recorded history, and the city’s health department is pushing for more people to kick the habit.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that the statewide adult smoking rate is 14.2 percent as of 2016 — a 22 percentage-point decline from 2011. The national smoking rate is 15.5 percent.
The smoking rate for all New York City residents also dropped significantly from 16.2 percent in 2011 to 11.5 percent in 2016.
The data comes from the annual Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system, an adult health survey, which showed declines across various groups between 2011 and 2016.
During that time period, smoking among 18- to 24-year-olds dropped from 21.6 percent to 11.7 percent; smoking among New Yorkers without a high school diploma dropped from 25.7 percent to 19.2 percent; and smoking among people making less than $25,000 a year fell from 27.8 percent to 19.8 percent.
Cuomo credited various campaigns that warn New Yorkers about the dangers of tobacco use and state and local health programs as the leading factors behind the decline.
City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett agreed, and announced a new promotional campaign that focuses on New Yorkers who have made previous attempts to quit. The “Your Number” commercials and posters will feature testimonials from people, including Bassett, who quit multiple times but ultimately succeeded.
“As a former smoker, I know how difficult it is to quit. I struggled to quit smoking, and it took me five times to quit for good,” she said in a statement.