Mayor Michael Bloomberg's aggressive efforts to curb smoking has paid off in a big way, with the total number of smokers down 35 percent since 2002.
This marks an all-time low for smokers in New York City, with only 14 percent of city residents regularly lighting up.
“The fact that the adult smoking rate is the lowest it’s been since 2002 means that lives are being saved, our air is cleaner and New Yorkers are healthier,” Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement.
Smoking became outlawed in virtually all indoor areas across New York City in 2002, and has since extended outdoors, most recently to include public parks and beaches. Long standing efforts have included prohibiting the sale of cigarrettes to minors, posting tobacco warning signs at cigarette retailers and a widespread public health education campaign.
In spite of these efforts, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas A. Farley said there is still work to be done, estimating that smoking will kill 7,000 people this year.
Those seeking help quitting are encouraged to call 311.