Staten Island Is Marlboro Country; Manhattan Too Soused to Notice

20061027cigs.jpg

The city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has a new blockbuster report out, ratting on our fair city's vices. As expected, smoking is on decline throughout NYC — treating it like Murder One can do that to a habit — with the citywide percentage of smokers at 18. The nationwide average is 21 percent.

The trend holds true for all boroughs except one. That proud, black-lunged holdout is Staten Island — the borough that probably shouldn't smoke at all, given its proximity to highly flammable toxic waste. Almost one in three Staten Islanders lights up, compared to less than one in five in Manhattan. Fresh Kills, indeed.

Before we begin, or rather continue, to scrunch up our noses in the direction of Staten Island, however, the Department has another nice little statistic at the ready. Manhattan, of all five boroughs, has the most binge-drinking. "Binge" is defined by the lily-livered DOH as "five or more drinks on a single occasion," and 18 percent of us indulge. (The rate goes up to 23 percent in Chelsea, the Village, and — figures — around Gramercy Park). That's considering that the method of survey was to call 10,000 people up on the phone — so, presumably, DOH missed all the Manhattanites too wasted to pick up the receiver.

So, to sum up: Staten Island smokes, Manhattan drinks. And the ferry, we now realize, must be the most fun place in the city.

Find Your Neighborhood's Health Profile! [NYC.gov]