Smoking rate has plummeted in New York City

June 21, 2007

New York City’s smoking rate has plummeted since a comprehensive program against smoking was launched in 2002, according to findings issued today in the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

The 2006 rate was nearly 20% lower than the 2002 rate -- a decline that represents 240,000 fewer smokers. The City’s rate for 2006 is the lowest on record (17.5%), and lower than all but five U.S. states (California, Washington, Idaho, Utah and Connecticut). Over the past year, smoking decreased among men (from 22.5% to 19.9%) and among Hispanics (from 20.2% to 17.1%). These large declines followed a year-long ad campaign aimed at prompting more smokers to quit. The new report is available online at .

Beginning in 2002, and after a decade with no progress, New York City increased the tobacco tax, eliminated smoking in virtually all workplaces, and launched hard-hitting anti-tobacco ads. By all indications, the interventions have made a difference. “Hard-hitting ads work,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden -- “especially when they’re paired with a tobacco tax and smoke-free air legislation. With nearly a quarter of a million fewer smokers, New York City is leading the way on tobacco control. There aren’t many programs that can prevent 80,000 premature deaths this quickly.”

Ads from the 2006 campaign graphically depicted tobacco smoke’s effects on the brain, lungs and arteries, showing testimonials from sick and dying smokers and their children, including former smoker Ronaldo Martinez, who now breaths through a hole in his throat as a result of smoking-related cancer. In a separate recent survey, nine out of 10 smokers said they saw the ads -- and half of smokers said the ads made them want to quit.

Highlights in Smoking Declines Since 2002

-- The smoking rate fell faster among women (23% decline) than among men (15% decline).

-- Rates among young adults (ages 18-24) have declined twice as much as rates among other adult age groups

-- Among all ethnic groups, Asian New Yorkers have made the most progress, with a 30% decline in the smoking rates, though Asian males still smoke at a rate of 16.4%

-- Smoking rates on Staten Island have declined by only 0.4% since 2002, while the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens have seen declines of more than 20%

“In spite of great progress, we have much farther to go, said Dr. Frieden. “More than 1 million New Yorkers are still smoking, and nearly 9,000 are dying from smoking-related disease every year. Because of inflation, the real price of cigarettes has declined by more than 60 cents since the last increase of the tobacco tax in New York in 2002; the time is right for another increase in the cigarette tax.”

Source: New York City Health Department

Explore further: How does pregnancy affect risk of stroke in older, younger women?

Related Stories

An accidental shooting kills a child every other day

October 14, 2016

Hours earlier, he was a happy 4-year-old who loved Ironman and the Hulk and all the Avengers. Now, as Bryson Mees-Hernandez approached death in a Houston hospital room, his brain swelling through the bullet hole in his face, ...

How to reduce US firearm suicide rates?

July 28, 2016

Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) have found that legislation reducing access to firearms has lowered firearm suicide rates in other countries. This ...

Recommended for you

Want to exercise more? Get yourself some competition

October 27, 2016

Imagine you're a CEO trying to get your employees to exercise. Most health incentive programs have an array of tools—pamphlets, websites, pedometers, coaching, team activities, step challenges, money—but what actually ...

Sleep loss tied to changes of the gut microbiota in humans

October 25, 2016

Results from a new clinical study conducted at Uppsala University suggest that curtailing sleep alters the abundance of bacterial gut species that have previously been linked to compromised human metabolic health. The new ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.