Making it harder to smoke and easier to quit are critical to reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and other serious illnesses. New York City has made considerable progress in reducing cigarette
smoking. Following the implementation of the city's comprehensive tobacco control program, the adult
smoking rate fell from 21.5% in 2002 to 15.5% in 2012, representing 324,000 fewer smokers. In addition,
youth smoking has decreased by nearly half from 14.8% in 2003 to 8.5% in 2011.
Smoking remains a leading cause of preventable death in New York City, and secondhand smoke threatens the health of many New Yorkers. Children who live with smokers are more likely to suffer from serious conditions such as bronchitis, ear infections, pneumonia and more frequent and severe asthma attacks; similarly, infants exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to die of sudden infant death syndrome. Smoking rates also vary by income, with poorer households reporting higher smoking rates.