Weird story and a little troubling, one that goes against the national trend. Recent data shows that the smoking rate in New York City — yes, rabidly anti-smoking New York City, has actually went up from 2010, and not by a tiny amount Officials are blaming budget cuts to education for the rise in smoking rates.
The smoking rate in New York is still relatively low. According to new data, the rate was 16.1 percent in 2013, up from 14 percent in 2010. The national average is around 18 percent, which is down fairly dramatically from about 10 years ago, when it was about 21 percent (thanks to smoking bans, higher cigarettes taxes, less smoking in movies, more kids buying a clue about cigarettes — and frankly, the rise of vaping I think is becoming a big factor in declining smoking rates.).
What is striking about that increase is New York City has some ridiculously high cigarette taxes (on top of some high New York State cigarette taxes), among the highest in the nation, and a pack of cigarettes there can cost up to $12 to $14.
According to the Daily News story:
The city’s annual tobacco control budget, which pays for anti-smoking programs and marketing campaigns, has been cut almost in half since 2009, to $7.1 million from $13.5 million.
Huh, you’d think with the smoking rate going up, New York City would have more tax revenue to fund tobacco education programs.
New York City had one of the most adamantly anti-smoking mayors in the country, Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg not only signed ordinances banning smoking in bars and restaurants,he raised cigarette taxes in New York and even signed an ordinance outlawing sales to adults under 21.
Here is one of the great New York City funded anti-smoking commercials.