Thinking About Quitting?

For free help and information
in English and Spanish, contact
the NYS Smokers' Quitline:
1-866-NYQUITS (1-866-697-8487)

Smoking and Tobacco Use – Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products

The New York State Department of Health envisions a tobacco-free New York State (NYS). To reduce morbidity and mortality and alleviate the social and economic burdens caused by tobacco use, the Bureau of Tobacco Control administers the comprehensive Tobacco Control Program (TCP), modeled on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control" and built upon a foundation of community contractors and partners throughout the state.

Facts about Smoking and Tobacco Use in NYS

  • Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable disease and death in NYS.
  • Although NYS has the fifth lowest adult smoking rate in the nation, approximately 2.4 million adult New Yorkers still smoke.
  • While adult and youth smoking rates have declined in NYS, the rates for smokers with lower incomes, lower educational attainment or serious mental illness have not.
  • Although NYS youth smoking rates are at their lowest recorded rates, 12,900 youth under 18 become new daily smokers each year and 107,000 NYS high school students currently smoke.
  • Unless youth smoking rates continue to drop, an estimated 280,000 NYS youth under 18 now will die early from smoking.

Smoking Causes Death and Disease

  • Every year in NYS, smoking kills 23,600 adults.
  • More than a half million New Yorkers live with serious smoking-caused illnesses and disabilities.
  • Smoking impairs fertility and causes certain birth defects.
  • Smoking causes many diseases including:
    • Cancer almost anywhere in the body (including in the lung, colon, rectum, liver, bladder, pancreas, uterus, and head and neck)
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Heart disease and stroke
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
    • Erectile dysfunction
    • Age-related macular degeneration

To learn more about smoking and health, see the U.S. Surgeon General's consumer booklet, Let's Make the Next Generation Tobacco-Free.

Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Causes Death and Disease

  • There is no safe level of exposure to cigarette smoke.
  • About 3,000 nonsmoking adults in NYS die from diseases (including heart disease, lung cancer and stroke) caused by secondhand smoke every year.
  • Over a million children in NYS are exposed to secondhand smoke in their own homes every year.
  • Children exposed to secondhand smoke:
    • Are more likely to get ear infections;
    • Have more breathing problems such as bronchitis and pneumonia;
    • Who already have asthma, have more frequent and severe attacks.

The Financial Toll

  • Every year, tobacco-related health care costs New Yorkers $10.4 billion, of which Medicaid covers $3.3 billion.
  • Lost productivity from smoking costs NYS more than $6 billion annually.
  • Tobacco control saves lives and money. In its first year, the 2003 expansion of the Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA) led to a significant decrease in hospital admissions for heart attacks that saved NYS an estimated $56 million. To learn more, see NYS's Clean Indoor Air Act: Ten Years Later and Growing Strong.

The Benefits of Quitting Smoking

  • Start immediately and continue over time:
    • After 20 minutes, heart rate and blood pressure drop.
    • After 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in blood begins to drop.
    • Circulation improves and lung function increases 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting.
    • After a year, the excess risk of heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker's.
    • After 15 years, the risk of heart disease is the same as a nonsmoker's.
    • The risk of developing type 2 diabetes decreases.

To learn more about smoking and health, see the U.S. Surgeon General's consumer booklet, Let's Make the Next Generation Tobacco-Free.

Thinking about Quitting?

For FREE information and services call the New York State Smokers' Quitline toll-free at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit