New Yorkers are giving up the smoking habit in large numbers, says an official data. According to the data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the adult smoking rate in the state reached its lowest level at 14 percent in 2016, well below the national average of 15.5 percent. The statistics showed a significant decrease in smoking rate among young adults aged 18-24 years over the last five years, dropping from 21.6 percent in 2011 to 11.7 percent in 2016.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo regarded the decline as a success of anti-smoking efforts. “Reducing smoking — and the death and misery that come with it — is critical to protecting public health and we will continue our work to create a safer and healthier New York for all,” he said while making the data public on Feb. 20, 2018.
According to the CDC data, smoking rates among adults with less than a high school education dropped by 25 percent. The rate fell by 29 percent for people with yearly income below $25,000, while number of smokers diagnosed with mental health problems like stress or depression reduced by 20 percent in 2016.
However, anti-smoking activists are not impressed and expect more from the state in terms of efforts and resources. Julie Hart of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network raised concerns over allocation of insufficient funds for New York’s tobacco control programs. While Hart expressed her joy over the decline in the number of smokers, she was not satisfied with $39 million proposed for anti-smoking campaigns in Cuomo’s 2018-2019 budget.
Smoking and mental health
Cigarette smoking is responsible for over 480,000 deaths in the United States every year, with more than 41,000 are a result of secondhand smoke, reports the CDC. The 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) indicated that 3.9 million middle and high school students used tobacco products in the past 30 days in that year. It was, however, 17 percent less than the corresponding period in 2015.
Adults with any mental illness (AMI) in the past year have higher risk of current smoking than those without a psychiatric condition. Similarly, current smokers with AMI in the past year smoked more cigarettes than those who did not experience AMI, suggests a report by the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ). However, smokers with mental health problems who choose to quit can lead a better life.
According to a January 2017 research published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, smokers with depression had considerable improvement in their condition after successfully quitting smoking. Furthermore, it was found that people undergoing the specialist behavioral support and medication provided by the clinic had more chances of remaining smoke free for a year, given they adhere to routine follow-up schedule. So smokers with a mental illness should seek treatment at a reputed rehab center for dual diagnosis to get out of the vicious cycle of smoking and psychiatric problems.
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