ALBANY - A new study shows a dramatic drop-off in smoking rates among New Yorkers.
Unfortunately, that's not necessarily translating to better health overall for residents of the state.
The study, released recently by the New England Journal of Medicine, also shows that obesity is on the rise.
American Cancer Society spokesman Chuck Reed said this week that smoking is down 20 percent since 1994, but obesity rates are up a whopping 48 percent. That, Reed said, wipes out any gains made by the plunging tobacco rates
The trends for tobacco use aren't unique to New York. Nationally, the American Cancer Society has found that smoking is down over the last 15 years.
Reed says a good percentage of Americans aren't aware of the direct link between obesity and cancer.
"One of the scary things that we found in this recent survey is that 50 percent of the people don't know that there is direct correlation between obesity and cancer," he said.
According to Reed, if all U.S. adults became nonsmokers of a normal weight by 2020, the average life expectancy would increase by nearly four years.
The point, Reed says, is that simply quitting smoking isn't enough if you want to be healthier.
"If you're going quit smoking, which we encourage you to do, take it one step further and also maintain a healthy body weight," he said. "Because that way, you're making positive lifestyle choices and you can live longer and you can enjoy your life more".
For the full New England Journal of Medicine report on smoking and obesity rates, check outcontent.nejm.org