The cigarette smoking rate among New York adults is at its lowest ever, according to a Department of Health report released this month.

The number of adults over the age of 18 who use cigarettes stands at only 12% as of 2020 and lower than the national average of 15.5%. Among adults age 18 to 24, cigarette smoking accounts for only 5.5% of the population.

But health officials are concerned the use of other tobacco products -- including cigars, e-cigarettes and vape pens -- remain popular, especially with younger adults and high school-age New Yorkers.

At the same time, the smoking rate remains higher among vulnerable populations, including low income people, people who are living with a mental illness or a disability and people with less than a high school education.

Still, the overall decline in cigarette use among New Yorkers dovetails with a decades-long advertising campaign highlighting the dangers of tobacco use as well as a steady increase in taxes on cigarettes.

"Our Tobacco Control Program has made tremendous progress at changing norms and getting the word out that smoking is bad for your health,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said. “The program has used evidence-based strategies, created tobacco-free spaces, and produced effective media campaigns that successfully encourage people to quit. New York State is committed to reducing the burden of nicotine addiction. DOH will continue to reach out to the public with powerful messages, work with communities to protect their neighborhoods from tobacco-industry influence, create safe, tobacco- and vape-free spaces, and provide information about getting help to quit smoking.”

Complications from cigarette usage still kill more than 22,000 New Yorkers a year, while an additional 65,000 are living with chronic diseases caused by smoking, according to the Department of Health.

Data gathered before New York raised the age to use e-cigarettes and vaping products to 21 found nearly 40% of high school students in their senior year have used such products, and 27% of high school-age kids have used e-cigarettes.