Smokes still city's
public enemy No. 1
New Yorkers are not lighting up the way they used to, but smoking is still the No. 1 cause of death and sickness in the city, according to a new Department of Health report.
"Tobacco is by far the leading cause of death, a preventable cause, despite a 10-year decline in tobacco use," said Assistant Health Commissioner Dr. Farzad Mostashari.
Twenty-two percent of New Yorkers counted themselves as smokers in the report, which provides the first health profile of the city's 42 neighborhoods.
Only 13% of people in Brooklyn's Flatbush and Canarsie neighborhoods smoke, the lowest rate in the city, while 30% of people in central Harlem light up.
Besides smoking, the study by the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene also tracks diabetes, AIDS, lead poisoning and obesity.
AIDS deaths in Morrisania and Highbridge in the Bronx and in East Harlem are nearly four times greater than the city average of 22 per 100,000 residents.
Infant mortality is highest in Fort Greene and central Brooklyn, while alcohol is the leading cause of hospitalization in Murray Hill and Gramercy Park.
"This study allows us to put number to impressions," Mostashari said. "If we can quantify the problem, we can plan, and help communities tackle the health problems that affect them most."