New York State fewer people smoking..

June 5, 2009 - - Fewer and fewer people are smoking in New York, and health officials peg much of the decrease to higher taxes. The Department of Health announced Thursday, June 4th that just under 17 percent of state residents were smokers in 2008, a 12 percent or nearly 310,000-person drop from the year before. (Health Department spokeswoman Diane Mathis said the state data comes from an annual survey of "risk factors," that states do in coordination with federal officials.)

The decrease in smoking comes as taxes on cigarettes are hitting record levels, officials said. Last June, the state raised taxes from $1.25 to $2.75 per pack, making it the nation's highest state tax at the time. Additionally, federal taxes rose 61 cents to $1 a pack in April.

"For the first time, New York's adult smoking rate has dropped below 17 percent, which is well below the national average," said Dr. Richard F. Daines, the state health commissioner. "The data reported today show that New York's tobacco control efforts are having an impact and that keeping the price of cigarettes high is a proven intervention that has helped 310,000 New Yorkers become ex-smokers, who can now lead healthier, longer lives."

New Yorkers pay $3.75 in state and federal taxes for a pack of cigarettes. In New York City, where there is an additional $1.50 tax, they pay $5.25. (Rhode Island state cigarette tax highest in nation - $3.46/pack..)

Reference- Higher taxes snuff smoking rate by RICK KARLIN, Capitol bureau,, 6/5/2009.