Letter: Cigarette tax money should go to prevention

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Saturday, December 8, 2012 | Laura Runyon, Binghamton | Categories:
When smokers complain about the high taxes on cigarettes here in New York, they might have a point. Over the last 10 years, only 4 percent of the billions in taxes collected from tobacco sales have been pledged to tobacco prevention programs despite promises from lawmakers. Additionally, the Tobacco Control Program has suffered massive cuts over the past few years, and is now operating with half the budget it had in 2009. These cuts are incomprehensible in a period when costs for health care are skyrocketing. Tobacco is the primary cause of preventable disease, and we need to focus our efforts in promoting health and well-being in our communities rather than making short-sighted cuts. So the next time you hear a complaint about cigarette taxes, they may have a point: the money collected is not being put to good use when it’s diverted from the tobacco prevention programs it originally promised to fund.
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