New York Doesn't Make the Grade in Tobacco Report

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Friday, January 18, 2013 | Categories:
Tobacco Prevention Control and Spending F Smokefree Air A Cigarette Tax A Cessation F New York failed to protect children from Big Tobacco’s marketing tactics by neglecting to invest in programs and policies proven to reduce tobacco use according to the American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control 2013 report released Wednesday. While the report gives New York a “thumbs up” for having the highest cigarette tax in the nation and praises the state’s strong smokefree indoor air laws, the state again received “F’s” for inadequately funding its tobacco control program and failing to remove the barriers that prevent New Yorkers from accessing needed smoking cessation services. The Lung Association’s annual State of Tobacco Control® report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the federal and state level, assigning grades based on whether laws are adequately protecting citizens from the enormous toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy. The 11th annual report shows how money is often at the root of the leading cause of preventable death, as state and federal policymakers are failing to battle a deep-pocketed, ever-evolving tobacco industry. New York received the following grades for 2013: Last year’s report severely criticized New York for cutting its already grossly underfunded tobacco control program,” noted Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “While the state funding remained level in 2012 total program spending is still $40 million less than it was just five years ago. Adequate funding is essential if we’re going to prevent kids from starting to smoke and help more smokers quit their deadly addiction. A program funded closer to the CDC-recommended level saves the most lives and that’s what we need here in New York.” obacco causes an estimated 25,432 deaths in New York annually and costs the state’s economy more than $14 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity, a tremendous burden that the state can ill afford. Increasing annual funding for the state’s tobacco control program to $85 million so that it is closer to the $254.3 million recommended by CDC. Ensuring that both public and private health plans cover all seven smoking cessation medications recommended by CDC; that individual, group, online and phone counseling is available to all, and that access to treatment is not restricted by limits on duration or the number of quit attempts covered. Although New York receives $2.3 billion in tobacco-related revenue annually, the state invests just 16.3 percent of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends should be spent on tobacco prevention and cessation programs. The failure of states across the U.S. to invest in policies and programs to reduce tobacco use has resulted in 3 million new youth and young smokers in the United States, according to the Surgeon General’s 2012 report. The theme of this year’s State of Tobacco Control report is “Follow the Money.” The Lung Association is urging state governments to weigh the real costs tobacco use has on public health as well as the state healthcare system The National Institute on Money in State Politics released a report today in conjunction with “State of Tobacco Control 2013” called “Big Tobacco Wins Tax Battles,” revealing preliminary data that tobacco manufacturers and retailers gave $53.4 million to state candidates for office, political parties and to oppose tobacco-related ballot measures during the 2011-2012 election cycle. Tobacco companies continue to introduce and promote new products, such as candy-flavored cigars and dissolvable tobacco products. Youth, low-income populations, and members of the Hispanic and LGBT communities who smoke cigars are more likely to smoke flavored cigars, according to a recent study in Nicotine and Tobacco Research. Meanwhile, the sales and popularity of these tobacco products have surged in large part due to their cheaper price. Each day, roughly 3,000 youth smoke a cigar for the first time. Priorities that need to be addressed to improve New York’s State of Tobacco Control grades include: “The state of New York leads the way with our comprehensive indoor smokefree laws and the cigarette tax but we’re falling further and further behind in funding efforts to keep kids off tobacco and to help smokers quit,” said Michael Seilback, Vice President of Public Policy & Communications for the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “When Governor Cuomo introduces his Executive Budget next week, we hope to see a real investment in the state’s Tobacco Control Program. We also need the newly elected Legislature to take a good look at the terrible toll tobacco is taking on New Yorkers and commit to funding the programs we know can make a difference and save lives.” (Release From The American Lung Association of the Northeast )
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