New York State Department of Health Announces Lowest Youth Cigarette Smoking Rate on Record

E-Cigarette and All Tobacco Product Use Among Youth Also Declined in 2020

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 13, 2021) - The New York State Department of Health today announced that New York State's youth smoking rate has reached an all-time low. As of 2020, less than 3% of high school students smoke cigarettes, down from 27.1% in 2000. The Youth Tobacco Survey (YTS) recently released by the Department also found that youth tobacco use was down across all tobacco product categories, including a drop in e-cigarette use for the first time.

"These milestones demonstrate the overwhelming success of New York's tobacco control program in reducing cigarette smoking among young people in New York State, and we will continue to take evidence-based action to safeguard New York youth from the nicotine addiction that tobacco products can cause. Smoking any substance can cause serious health problems," Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said. "In 2019, we increased the minimum age to buy tobacco and vaping products from age 18 to 21, and in 2020, we ended the sale of flavored e-liquids, stopped the online sale of e-cigarettes to individuals, stopped the sale of tobacco in pharmacies and eliminated the use of coupons and other price promotions that made vaping and tobacco products cheaper and more easily accessible to youth."

In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared e-cigarette use among youth an epidemic, and studies show that young people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking cigarettes than those who do not vape nicotine. In New York State, e-cigarette use among high school age students increased 160% between 2014 and 2018. While still by far the most commonly used tobacco product among youth in our state, the rate of e-cigarette use also decreased for the first time since New York began monitoring use of these products. Between 2018 and 2020, the e-cigarette use rate among high schoolers dropped by 18%.

To help young people quit vaping, in 2020, the Department of Health partnered with Truth Initiative, a nonprofit national public health organization committed to making tobacco use a thing of the past, to create a NYS-specific version of their text-based intervention, "This is Quitting." This innovative, free, and anonymous text message program was created with input from teenagers, college students, and young adults who have attempted to or successfully quit vaping. Tailored to specific age groups (13-17 and 18-24) to give age-appropriate quitting recommendations, New York State youth can text "DropTheVape" to 88709 to access the program.

Enrollees in the program receive interactive daily text messages tailored to their sign-up date or their target quit date, should they choose to set one. Messages include encouragement, motivation, tips, skill, and self-efficacy building exercises, and coping strategies. The program also directs users to the New York State Quitline, which provides free and confidential quit coaching for people who vape or smoke, and free starter kits of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to eligible New Yorkers to help them break their dependence on smoking or vaping tobacco.

New Yorkers aged 13 to 24 who want to stop vaping can enroll in the free and anonymous text messaging program by texting "DropTheVape" to 88709. New Yorkers of all ages can contact the New York State Smokers' Quitline at 1-866-NYQUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit for free and confidential smoking and vaping quit services and to determine their eligibility to receive free starter kits of NRT.

View the one-page StatShot with highlights of the recent New York Youth Tobacco Survey here. For additional information on the New York State Tobacco Control Program, visit To learn more about smoking and vaping among youth, visit or