Tobacco use in New York 2021
Cigarette use: New York
Cigarette smoking rates in New York
- In 2020, 12.0% of adults smoked. Nationally, the rate was 15.5%.1
- In 2019, 4.2% of high school students in New York smoked cigarettes on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 6.0%.2
Other tobacco product use: New York
Vaping rates in New York
- In 2018, 5.4% of adults in New York used e-cigarettes.3
- In 2020, 2.2% of adults in New York used smokeless tobacco.3
- In 2019, 22.4% of high school students in New York used electronic vapor products on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 32.7%.2
- In 2019, 6.7% of high school students in New York smoked cigars, cigarillos or little cigars on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 5.7%.2
Economics of tobacco use and tobacco control
New York cigarette tax
- New York received $1.91 billion (estimated) in revenue from tobacco settlement payments and taxes in fiscal year 2021.4
- Of this, the state allocated $39.8 million in state funds to tobacco prevention in fiscal year 2021, 19.6% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual spending target.4
- Smoking-caused health care costs: $10.39 billion per year.4
- Smoking-caused losses in productivity: $7.33 billion per year.5
New York tobacco laws
New York smoking laws
- New York is ranked 2nd in the U.S. for its cigarette tax of $4.35 per pack (enacted July 2010), compared to the national average of $1.91. (The District of Columbia has the highest tax at $4.50 and Missouri has the lowest at 17 cents.)6-8
- Little cigars weighing less than four pounds per thousand are taxed at 21.75 cents per cigar. Snuff is taxed at $2 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% 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
- E-cigarettes are included in the state’s clean indoor air law.9
- The sale of all flavored e-cigarettes is prohibited, except e-cigarettes that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as part of a premarket review.10
- Retailers and wholesalers are required to obtain a license to sell tobacco products.6
- A license is required to sell e-cigarettes.9
- The sale of tobacco products is prohibited in pharmacies.11
Point of sale laws
- Retailers are prohibited from redeeming coupons or other discounting measures for tobacco products.12
Youth access laws
- Effective December 2019, the United States adopted a law raising the federal minimum age of sale of all tobacco products to 21. Some states have not yet raised their state minimum age of sale, however, the federal law takes precedence.
- Establishments are required to post signs stating that sales to underage customers are prohibited and will be penalized.6,7
- In stores where admission is not restricted to individuals 21 and older, tobacco products for sale must be store behind the counter or in a locked container.6,7
- Sales and distribution of e-cigarettes, vapor products or liquid nicotine to underage persons are prohibited.9
- Self-service displays of e-cigarettes or liquid nicotine are prohibited except in tobacco businesses and locations restricted to persons at least 21 years of age.9
- Vending machine sales of e-cigarettes are permitted in bars, private clubs, and tobacco businesses; in other businesses that have proportionally few employees under 21, the products must not be accessible to the general public and must be visible to and under the direct control of person in charge.9
- Sales of flavored vapor products intended to be used for the consumption of nicotine are prohibited.9
- Sales of vapor products by pharmacies to be used for the consumption of nicotine are prohibited.9
- Vapor product dealers are prohibited from shipping vapor products intended to be used for the consumption of nicotine to unauthorized persons in the state.9
- Common or contract carriers are prohibited from knowingly transporting vapor products intended to be used for the consumption of nicotine to any unauthorized person in the state.9
- Shipments of vapor products intended to be used in the consumption of nicotine must be clearly labeled as “vapor product” if shipped in something other than the manufacturer’s original container or wrapping.9
- Vapor product dealers are prohibited from distributing vapor products intended to be used for the consumption of nicotine without charge and price reduction instruments for such products.9
- Retailers are prohibited from engaging in discount sales (including, but not limited to, coupons, multipack discounts) of vapor products (with some exceptions).9
Local tobacco laws
- New York City:
- Prohibits the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes10
- Prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products with a characterizing flavor other than menthol, mint or wintergreen, except in certain “tobacco bars”10
- Prohibits the use of all tobacco products at all ticketed sporting events, including at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium13
- Requires that cigarettes and little cigars not be sold at retail for less than $13 per 20-pack, including sales tax14
- Requires cigars that cost less than $3 individually be sold in packs of four or more13
- Requires little cigars be sold in packs of 2015
- Manheim prohibits the sale of all flavored tobacco products.10
- Yonkers prohibits the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.10
- Hempstead and Nassau County prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes within 1,000 feet of a school, playground or park.10
Quitting statistics and benefits
Quitting vaping and smoking in New York
- The CDC estimates 46.8% of daily adult smokers in New York quit smoking for one or more days in 2019.3
- In 2014, the Affordable Care Act required that Medicaid programs cover all tobacco cessation medications.7**
- New York’s state quit line invests $2.59 per smoker, compared to the national average of $2.28.7
- The state’s insurance commissioner issued guidance instructing most insurance plans to be in compliance with Affordable Care Act guidance on tobacco cessation as a preventative service.7
Notes and references
Updated August 2021
*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, 2020.
2. CDC, Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System, 2019.
3. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System, 2021.
4. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Broken Promises to Our Children: a State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 22 Years Later FY2021, 2020.
5. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Toll of Tobacco in the United States.
6. American Lung Association, State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues (SLATI).
7. American Lung Association, State of Tobacco Control, 2021.
8. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. State Cigarette Excise Tax Rates & Rankings. https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/factsheets/0097.pdf. Accessed.
9. Public Health Law Center. U.S. E-Cigarette Regulation: 50-State Review. http://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/resources/us-e-cigarette-regulations-50-state-review. Accessed.
10. Truth Initiative, Local restrictions on flavored tobacco and e-cigarette products. https://truthinitiative.org/research-resources/emerging-tobacco-products/local-restrictions-flavored-tobacco-and-e-cigarette.
11. Americans Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation. Municipalities with Tobacco-Free Pharmacy Laws. http://no-smoke.org/pdf/pharmacies.pdf. Accessed.
12. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. Governor Cuomo Announces Highlights of FY 2021 Budget. https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-highlights-fy-2021-budget. Published 2020. Accessed.
13. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Smoking and Tobacco Control Laws. https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/business/food-operators/smoking-legislation.page. Accessed.
14. 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. http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3013584&GUID=2CF281E1-5407-4AB5-8340-E16098EF7F85&FullText=1 Published 2017. Accessed.
15. 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. https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/smoke/cigar-sales-faq.pdf. Accessed.