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Fact Sheet Fact Sheet

Tobacco use in New York 2018

New York cigarette use among adults and high school students

Cigarette use: New York*

  • In 2016, 14.2 percent of adults smoked. Nationally, the rate was 17.1 percent.¹
  • In 2017, 5.5 percent of high school students smoked on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 8.8 percent.²

Other tobacco product use: New York

  • In 2015, 1.6 percent of adults used e-cigarettes, 0.6 percent used smokeless tobacco and 2.2 percent smoked cigars.³
  • In 2017, 14.5 percent of high school students used e-cigarettes, 4.6 percent used smokeless tobacco and 7.7 percent smoked cigars on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rates were 13.2 percent, 5.5 percent and 8.0 percent, respectively.²
New York other tobacco product use among adults and high school students

Economics of tobacco use and tobacco control

  • New York received $2.0676 billion (estimated) in tobacco settlement payments and taxes in fiscal year 2018.
  • Of this, the state allocated $39.3 million in state funds to tobacco prevention in fiscal year 2018, just 19.4 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual spending target.
  • Smoking-caused health care costs: $10.39 billion per year
  • Smoking-caused losses in productivity: $7.33 billion per year

New York tobacco laws

Tobacco taxes

New York 2018 tobacco taxes
  • New York is ranked 1st in the U.S. for its cigarette tax of $4.35 per pack (enacted July 2010), compared to the national average of $1.73. (Connecticut and New York have the highest tax at $4.35 and Missouri has the lowest at 17 cents.)⁶ ⁷ ⁸
  • Little cigars weighing less than four pounds per thousand are taxed at 21.75 cents per cigar. Snuff is taxed at $2.00 per ounce and a proportionate rate on fractional parts of an ounce, provided that cans or packages of snuff with a net weight less than one ounce are taxed at the equivalent rate of cans or packages weighing one ounce. All other tobacco products are taxed at 75 percent of the wholesale price.⁶ ⁷ 

Clean indoor air ordinances

  • Smoking is prohibited in all government workplaces, private workplaces, schools, childcare facilities, restaurants, bars (allowed in cigar bars and allows for an economic hardship waiver), casinos/gaming establishments (tribal establishments exempt), retail stores and recreational/cultural facilities.⁶ ⁷

Youth access laws

  • The minimum age of sale for tobacco products in New York is 18.
  • Establishments are required to post signs stating that sales to minors are prohibited and will be penalized.⁶ ⁷
  • In stores where admission is not restricted to individuals aged 18 and older, tobacco products for sale must be store behind the counter or in a locked container.⁶ ⁷

Local tobacco laws

  • New York City:
    • Prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products, except e-cigarettes, with a characterizing flavor other than menthol, mint or wintergreen, except in certain “tobacco bars”
    • Prohibits the sale of tobacco products to persons under age 21
    • Prohibits the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies¹⁰
    • Prohibits the use of all tobacco products at all ticketed sporting events, including at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium
    • Prohibits retailers from redeeming coupons, multi-pack deal, buy-one-get-one deals or any other price reduction promotions
    • Requires that cigarettes and little cigars not be sold at retail for less than $13.00 per 20-pack, including sales tax¹¹
    • Requires cigars that cost less than $3.00 individually to be sold in packs of four or more
    • Requires little cigars be sold in packs of 20¹²
  • Twenty-two cities and counties in New York have prohibited the sale of tobacco products to persons under age 21.¹³
  • Rockland County prohibits the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.¹⁰

Quitting statistics and benefits

  • The CDC estimates that 50.5 percent of daily adult smokers in New York quit smoking for one or more days in 2016.¹⁴
  • In 2014, the Affordable Care Act required that Medicaid programs cover all quit medications.**
  • New York’s state quit line invests $2.36 per smoker, compared to the national average of $2.10.
  • The insurance commissioner issued guidance instructing most insurance plans to be in compliance with ACA guidance on quitting tobacco as a preventative service.

Notes and references

Updated June 2018

* National and state-level prevalence numbers reflect the most recent data available. This may differ across state fact sheets.

** The seven recommended cessation medications are NRT gum, NRT patch, NRT nasal spray, NRT inhaler, NRT lozenge, Varenicline (Chantix) and Bupropion (Zyban). Fiore MC, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service: May 2008.

  1. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2016.
  2. CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2017.
  3. CDC, State-Specific Prevalence of Tobacco Product Use Among Adults - United States, 2014-2015, MMWR.
  4. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Broken Promises to Our Children: a State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 19 Years Later FY2018, 2017.
  5. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Toll of Tobacco in the United States, 2018.
  6. American Lung Association, SLATI State Reports, 2017.
  7. American Lung Association, State of Tobacco Control, 2018.
  8. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, State Cigarette Excise Tax Rates & Rankings, 2018.
  9. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Smoking and Tobacco Control Laws.
  10. Americans Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation. Municipalities with Tobacco-Free Pharmacy Laws. 2018;
  11. New York City Council. Int 1544-2017: A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to the regulation of retail dealers of tobacco products and of electronic cigarettes, the establishment of price floors and minimum package sizes for tobacco products and shisha, and the establishment of a tax on tobacco products other than cigarettes. 2017;
  12. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. New Laws Governing Cigar Sales in New York City Tobacco Retail Stores: What You Need to Know.
  13. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. States and Localities that have Raised the Minimum Legal Sales Age for Tobacco Products to 21. 2018;
  14. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System, 2016.