Smoking rate in New York City drops to all-time low

September 16, 2011 5:28:57 AM PDT
The number of smokers in New York City has dropped to an all-time low.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Thursday that only 14 percent of adults in the city are smokers.

That's down from 22 percent since the health department began its anti-smoking campaign in 2002.

Some of the steepest declines are in Staten Island and among teenagers.

Officials credit laws that forbid smoking in most public places, hard-hitting anti-smoking campaigns and higher cigarette taxes.

"Smoking is the leading cause of preventable, premature death in New York City and the nation today and we're proud that a record number of News Yorkers are saving their own lives by quitting," Bloomberg said. "This decrease will prevent 50,000 premature deaths by the year 2052 and I encourage those who are still smoking to take this opportunity to get help quitting by calling 311 today."

Bloomberg said the drop in smoking will prevent 50,000 premature deaths by the year 2052.

City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said the city is making historic progress against its biggest killer.