The New England has the third-highest smoking rate in NSW, and locals are more likely to drink more frequently than they were three years ago.
Those are the findings of the latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) household survey, a study which asks Australians about their consumption of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes every three years.
In the New England and North West, 16.6 per cent smoke on a daily basis - a number that has spiked from 12.4 per cent since 2016. Just 56.4 per cent of locals have never smoked, according to statistics released on Thursday.
And 24.1 per cent of locals above the age of 14 told researchers they drink on average more than two standard drinks a night. The AIHW study classes that as "risky" drinking.
The New England has defied a trend across the wider Hunter New England Health (HNEH) district.
Across the broader region, drinking and smoking are less popular than ever - but nearly one-in-five people have tried illegal drugs recently.
In fact, more residents in the local health district have recently tried an illicit narcotic than are regular smokers, the numbers show.
In HNEH, some 12.3 per cent of locals reported being smokers, down from 14.3 per cent in 2016.
But 18.3 per cent of people across the local health district told the survey they recently used some kind of illicit drug.
That's a dramatic increase on 2016, when just 12.9 per cent of locals reported drug use.
And it's substantially higher than the state average of 15.9 per cent of NSW residents over 14 reporting "recent use" of cannabis, ecstasy, methamphetamine, cocaine, hallucinogens or ketamine for a non-medical purpose. That number has increased since 2007.
The narcotic of choice remains marijuana with 11 per cent of people reporting use of cannabis, though the rate of cocaine has increased to five per cent.
Some nine per cent of locals reported recent drug use in the New England area.