New Yorkers — especially those under 24 — are giving up cigarettes at record rates.
 

Smoking dropped to the lowest levels in state history in 2016, with just 14.2 percent of residents lighting up, according to state Health Department statistics released Tuesday.
 

That’s a 22 percent decline from 2011 and below the national average of 15.5 percent.
 

“New York State has made great strides in reducing tobacco use, which is the number one preventable cause of death and disease in the state,” said state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.
 

The percentage of young adults who smoke dropped even more rapidly.
 

Just 11.7 percent of the 18-to-24 age group reported a nicotine habit, compared to 21.6 percent in 2011.
 

However, e-cigarette use rose among young people.
 

While old-fashioned cigarette smoking among high school students dropped from 27.1 percent in 2011 to just 4.3 percent in 2016, a troubling 20.6 percent reported using e-cigarettes in 2016.
 

That’s up from 10.5 percent of high school students who puffed on e-cigs two years earlier.
 

The state has the highest tobacco tax in the nation, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo credits that with helping cut smoking rates.
 

In New York City, 13.1 percent of residents described themselves as smokers.
 

The state spends about $10.39 billion annually on health care costs related to smoking, according to NYC Smoke Free.  


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